April, the month where we can all see and feel the start of autumn where plants put on their autumn colours and refreshingly cooler days, packed with lovely, leisurely long weekends and public holidays…so much more time to go gardening!
Get ready for Winter and plant for Spring
• Look at Planting winter and spring-flowering bulbs this month as they are available here at Tuingenoot. Prepare your soil by mixing in compost and bone meal or vermicastings before planting. Feed with a flower bulb food immediately after planting and continue on monthly intervals throughout the growing season. Be sure to also water deeply every 4 days.
• Remove all your spent summer annuals and plant winter and spring- flowering annuals like Poppies, Pansies, Petunias, Primulas, Cineraria and Violas. Choose from the wonderful colour and variety available on the seedling tables now – which are all ready to be planted in your well prepared beds, pots and hanging baskets. Be sure to look out for cutworm and snails around your seedlings and place bait near all the seedlings. Feed them with an organic Seedling Food. Deadhead regularly to encourage continuous flowering.
• Keep your Gardenias well-watered now to prevent bud drop. Gardenias form their buds until late autumn and they open when temperatures start rising in late spring. If there is a Lack of water it will cause the buds to drop before they open.
• Lift and divide summer- flowering perennials such as Agapanthus, Hemerocallis, Iris, Arums and Cannas. Cut their foliage back to about one third and add a generous amount of compost to the planting holes. Keep the divided clumps to a fair size to enable the plant to recover in time for next season dont forget water well.
• Give your roses a final feed of 3:1:5 and water twice a week if the rainfall is low. Spray preventatively every fortnight against fungal disease and insect infestation Rosecare plus is a great choice for this, keep an eye out for redspidermite.
• You can give all your acid-loving plants like Hydrangeas, Azaleas and Camellias a dressing of acid-compost.
• This is an ideal time to plant any new rose bushes, shrubs and trees as their roots will be well established and they will burst forth with new foliage in spring, most plants will also be in a dormant phase which gives less stress to the plant when planting.
• New hedges should also ideally be planned and planted now. Good options for a hedge include Buxus, Abelia, Duranta, Camelia, Cuphea, Freylinia, Westringia, Viburnum, Nandina and Pittosporum. ‘Edible’ hedges like Bay Laurel, Rosemary, Num-num and Pomegranates are very popular and trendy.
• Look at pruning your evergreen and hardy summer-and autumn-flowering hedges and shrubs once they have finished flowering.
• Over-sow deciduous lawn, like Kikuyu and LM Lawn with cool season lawn seed and water well.
• Autumn is the perfect time to start a compost heap or to invest in a compost bin and use all disease-free prunings, old spent plants and leaves to make your own wholesome compost. Speed up the process by adding compost activator.
• Start collecting all the fallen autumn leaves and use as a mulch or add to the compost heap. Alternatively collect ypur leaves in black plastic bags and leave them to decompose into wonderful leaf mold. Mind that you don’t use diseased leaves though.
Your April sowing guide
Ensure a continuous harvest and beautiful winter colour by sowing your favourites of the following now:
Vegetables: Asian greens, Beetroot, Broad Beans, Cabbage, Red Cabbage, Kale, Celery, Chinese Cabbage, Carrots, Leeks, Lettuce, Onions, Parsnips, Peas, Radish, Spinach, Swiss Chard and Turnips.
Herbs: Parsley, Chives, Garlic chives, Coriander, Caraway and Rocket
Flowers: African Daisy, Alyssum, Aquilegia, Antirrhinum, Bellis, Calendula, Cineraria, Dianthus, Diascia, Gazania, Linaria, Nemesia, Pansy, Phlox, Fairy Primulas, Petunias, Poppies, Stocks, and Viola.
Plant your Sweet Peas seeds now in a sunny spot in the garden for some spring fragrance and joy!
In the food garden
• Look at planting your winter vegetables and herb seedlings out into your prepared beds when they are strong enough – as a rule of thumb when they have four true leaves. Plant with bone meal and feed with seedling food to give them a good start. Mulch well and keep moist.
• Feed your vegetables and herbs that are actively growing now with an organic fertiliser like flower power or gwano pellets.
• Do your final harvesting of annual herbs. Dig up what’s left and add to the compost heap. Some herb plants like comfrey, borage and yarrow will speed up the decomposing process and add precious nutrients to the compost.
• This is a good month to also look at planting your deciduous fruit trees like peaches, plums, nectarines and apricots. If space is a problem, why not try your hand at the art of espalier a great way to maximize on your limited space.
• Keep your citrus trees moist and replenish the mulch layer around the trees if needed.
• Garlic bulbs can still be planted in April. Plant in full sun in beds or containers with well-draining soil.
• You can Also divide and re-plant new strawberries and rhubarb plants.
• Harvest the last of your potato crop and summer veg now and pull out the spent plants, add to the compost heap.
• Now is a great time to create your own indoor haven with the lush foliage and textures of the wide range of indoor plants and ferns that are available at our nursery.
• Bring colour indoors and onto the patio with Cyclamens or Chrysanthemums available in striking colours. Add a dash of fun with the all new, zany Polka Dot Begonia!
• As the temperatures start to drop, so should your watering of indoor plants look at decreasing the amountofwateryou give them.
Think ahead and plant the following now for colour during the drab winter months:
• Hypoestes aristata (Ribbon Bush)
• Aloe spp (Aloes) – some of the new hybrid Aloes have a longer or different flowering time and can, if planned and grouped properly, ensure colour from autumn right through winter.
• Leptospermum scoparium ‘Cherry Brandy’ (Australian Tea bush)
• Camellia japonica (Common Camellia)
• Azalea spp (Azalea)
• Your choice of our beautiful Fynbos selection of Protea spp (Sugarbush), Erica spp (Heather), Leucospermum (Pincushion), Leucadendron (Cone bush) and many more.
• Kniphofia praecox (Red-hot poker)
MAKE A DATE TO REFLECT: Thursday, the 22nd of April, is EARTH DAY – a perfect time to consider how far we’ve come, the challenges we face and the vast opportunities available to all of us as a global family to commit to the care of our beautiful, and only, planet Earth.