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Starting your garden in the right season can significantly enhance your harvest. This is because most vegetables, fruits, and herbs belong to one of the two seasonal groups. While some are cool-season crops, others thrive in warmer conditions. This is a major factor in identifying the right time to start your garden.
For most places, late March-early April can be a great time to start their garden. During this time, most crops can be grown, and the last frost date has passed, the soil temperature and the weather are favorable for starting a garden.
Usually, coming up with a date to start is the gardener’s best guess based on his experience. Thus, one should start their garden on the same date each year. However, April can still be a great time for most gardeners. Here’s why:
Why is this the best month to start your garden?
To begin with, April is declared as the National Garden Month. But there is a lot that makes it one of the best months to start gardening for most people.
A favorable environment to start your garden is about the time when the snow melts.
The garden soil is neither too moist nor too dry. The temperature is favorable, and the days grow longer, increasing the amount of daylight for the crops. The warm soil and the springtime rain can spur germination even in the dormant seeds from the previous fall.
All of this is bound to unfold the gardening instinct in you. However, by starting your garden in April, you are only mimicking the natural cycle of growth, which can greatly impact the harvest.
There will be more options when you start your garden on this month
April is the month in which you can start a wide range of seeds and young plants. Almost all crops grow well during this time. Moreover, nurseries and garden centers also have a better variety of seeds and seed starting equipment during early spring.
Thus, you can pick the seeds that you truly want to grow. Right from your favorite vegetables to the most beautiful flowers, you can get it all.
This is the best month to start your garden because it gives you enough time to prepare
Other than nature and the availability of more and better seeds, starting your garden during this time can give you adequate time to prep your garden beds. You can take as long as two months to welcome the spring season with open arms. Moreover, if you start planting in early spring, you would offer your plants a long growing season until the winter season approaches.
Winter Chill Kills Pests, making this the best month to start your garden
While starting, you would not want the pests and weeds in your garden. And luckily, the frost can effectively kill insect pests and weeds, offering you a clean and fresh garden to start with. This way, you can also be sure that your plants will not just survive but also thrive.
What can you start to garden and plant in April?
Usually, the weather will dictate which crops you will be able to plant this year. But even if the signs of early spring are not to be seen, you can sow seeds indoors under grow lights and transplant them when the conditions are favorable. This is a great way to extend your growing season.
Listed below are some plants that you can grow either indoors or plants you can grow in more favorable weather :
|Plant types||You can sow these indoors||Seed options during favorable weather|
|Herbs||basil, echinacea, chives, oregano, marjoram, |
sage, parsley, peppers, and sweet alyssum
|calendula, chamomile, tomato and sunflower|
|Brassicas||brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, |
cabbage, kale, and collards
|cabbage, kohlrabi, radish, and turnip|
We would also like to add that you can grow Alliums indoors, such as leek, onions, lettuce, and okra, during April. You may also look into trying legumes, the carrot, and the beet family when the weather is more favorable.
What can you do during April to start your garden?
Whether you plan to start a vegetable garden, herb garden, or just a lawn overlooking your porch or patio, you can do anything in April. First, however, you need to do many things to prepare your garden for the upcoming growing season.
Since April is one of the best months for planting, there will be a lot of work that you have to do. So, it is important to start early. However, you can begin prepping your garden in March itself. Here is all that you need to do:
You can do preparations to start your garden
Begin with cleaning up the garden area. Be sure that you remove last year’s dead leaves and plants. Also, rake back extra mulch from last year and add some new if needed. For preparing the soil, you should use compost or well-rotted manure.
You should also check your sprinkler systems for any leaks and clean the filters. Other than this, you should also remove sticks, rocks, and other debris from the garden area so that you can mow without any hassle.
Lawn Care can be done to start your garden
Once you are all set to begin planting, you need to keep track of the weather conditions in your area. This is because different plants will thrive in different conditions. For this, you should keep a tab on weekly rainfall in the area. Also, keep a rain gauge to measure the amount of rainfall your garden receives, as it will help you know it is time to water your plants.
You should ensure that your garden gets around one inch of water each week for the upcoming 4-5 months for proper growth.
Other than this, it would be best if you also did some edging. With this, you can easily divide the area between the lawn, flower beds, and the garden, separating the soil, mulch, and rocks. You would also need to apply fertilizer according to the label directions to take proper care of your plants.
Wildlife will be teeming in April, making it the best month to start your garden.
Wildlife plays a major role in your garden, especially during the growing season. Insects, worms, spiders, and slugs are important for balancing the equilibrium of the ecosystem. We actually have an article on increasing worm population, just if your garden needs that extra push of fertility.
Also, it would help if you planted certain crops that invite pollinators like butterflies and bees. This is also a great time to put up a couple of birdhouses in your garden as they also promote biodiversity and native plantings.
Can I plant and start my garden Outside during April?
Yes, one can definitely plant outside during April. It is probably the best time to do so. There is a wide range of options if you wish to plant outside.
Here are some options that you can consider:
|Perennials||asparagus, rhubarb, and strawberry|
|Brassicas||broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, collard, and kale|
|Alliums||chives, leeks, and onions|
|Herbs||echinacea and sweet alyssum|
Fruit and berries are also interesting things to consider and plant outside April. You can also plant herbaceous perennial and biennial plants such as osteospermum and foxgloves. Hyacinths, lilies, petunia, and daffodils are also great options.
What are the disadvantages to think of when you start your garden in April?
There are not many. And this is probably one of the reasons why April is considered to be one of the best months to start a garden. However, everything has a few pros and cons. Here are a few downfalls on starting a garden in April:
There will be difficulty in Growing Cool-Season Crops and starting your Garden
While there is a wide range of crops available to you, growing cool-season crops can be a little difficult in April. So, if you happen to love all the cool-season crops, starting your garden in April might not be a great option for you. However, if your area usually remains cooler during this month, you would naturally have a longer growing season for such crops, which will allow them to mature under more optimal growing conditions.
More Pruning Required when you start your garden
Spring is conducive to growth, and sometimes it may even cause excessive growth of your plants. Thus, to ensure proper care, you would have to prune regularly, even on a week-to-week basis at times.
More Pests will be there when you start your garden in April
Due to the warm weather, you can witness more insect pests in your garden that may cause harm to the crops. Thus, some amount of fertilizer and pest control would be required.
Mushrooms will be thriving when you start your garden
Mushrooms grow in cool and moist soil. And the last winter season would have offered great conditions for it to thrive. However, mushrooms can often be unsightly, especially when they pop up themselves. Although some are completely harmless and edible, some can be poisonous as well. Thus, while starting your garden in early spring, you might have to deal with these fungi bodies first.
When Is It Too Late to start your garden and plant?
While late March to Early April is the best time to start a garden for most areas, one can also start in May. However, there are a few factors that you should consider beforehand.
Days to Maturity will be something to consider when you start your garden
Every plant has a particular number of days that it needs to fully grow from a seed to a plant to be harvested. You can have a look at the seed packet to get the details about its maturation date.
If your plant can grow completely before the winter season kicks in, you are not too late.
You can pick radishes, lettuce, onions, beets, and spinach as they have shorter maturation dates. Also, you can find transplants (crops planted earlier in the season); you can easily plant them in your own garden and allow them to grow completely.
It best to think about Frost Schedule when you start your garden
Also, as mentioned earlier, the frost schedule will play a major role. Find out the first frost dates for your area. Now, you need to count backward from that date to ensure that your plants have enough time to grow completely.
Plant Varieties are a major consideration to think about when you start your garden
Another major factor is the type of plant you choose to grow. Since warm-season crops would grow fine even if you are a little late, you will face some difficulties growing cool-season crops.
You can utilize Season Extenders to start your garden outside April
If nothing of the above is possible, you can still start your garden and help it grow through season extenders. In addition, you can get covers that will prevent your plants from frost damage while allowing moisture, sunlight, and air to pass through. Covers are quite affordable and can also be reused.
You can also consider cold frames or tiny greenhouses that will not only protect the plants but will also insulate them.
FAQ’s on the best month to start your garden
Conclusion on the best month to start your garden and why
There are definitely quite a few things that one needs to keep in mind while starting a garden, but that first glimpse of the bountiful harvest and the stunning flowers will make it all worth it!
However, it does come down to where you live and the typical weather patterns in the area.
In the majority of cases, April is the perfect time to start your garden. With this in mind, we also have a spectacular job on other gardening jobs you can do this month that you might want to check out.
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