As spring arrives in the cold-climate garden, April is the time to work slowly and patiently, and get the garden art and nesting boxes ready. Indoors, we’re starting seeds and planning for the upcoming growing season. See what you can do this month in the garden.
For more, see garden task lists for each month here.
April Garden Tasks
These are examples of tasks I like to do in my cold-climate garden (zone 6). Every garden is different, and we each adapt based on climate, growing zone and conditions, the plant species, challenges, and time and resources available. Please take the inspiration and run/grow with it.
Here in southwestern Ontario, Canada, April requires some patience. As winter melts away, and spring rains come and go, we must be careful not to step on garden beds and compress plant roots. There is still an opportunity to clear up winter vegetable beds and sow quick-growing spring ones, but other than that, it will do more harm than good to be hasty.
Monthly Garden Tasks
Hold off putting tender plants outdoors until you have passed your last frost date unless you have season extenders like frost cloths or a polytunnel to protect them.
- There is a complete, printable Spring Gardening Checklist here.
- Now is the time to start waking up containers from winter storage including spring bulbs and fig trees. This explains the process.
- Start your early spring vegetable garden. Quick-growing veggies including leafy greens and peas are ideal choices.
- If you’re sowing tiny seeds, consider making seed tapes.
- Soil temperature is your best guide for deciding sowing times.
- If new perennial growth is up and the soil is not too damp, start spring clean-up, removing old perennial growth.
- Move winter compost into main pile. Turn twice weekly if you can.
- Grow new plants from cuttings: see what you can propagate now.
- Make sure your pond does not freeze over. I keep a pump running and a hole open in the ice.
- Keep bird feeders and water feeders clean and filled.
- Watch nesting boxes for activity.
- Have your hummingbird feeders ready for the arrival of spring migrations.
- You can track the hummingbird migrations on this map.
- Grow salad greens and other veggies and herbs can grow indoors all year-round.
- Move indoor seedlings to pots. Plan to get your babies ready for life outdoors (“harden off”).
There’s still time to work on garden art projects before the busy May garden season begins.
Here’s some project ideas.
- Grow a sweet pea garden arch
- Create a framed succulent planter
- Make a giant bird nest
- Turn old boots into garden art dogs
- Want a garden shed? Here’s lots of styles to choose from.
- How about some repurposed art? Old kitchen chairs make great plant stands.
- Planning a new pond? This has lots of ideas for all budgets.
- Knees or back not working like they used to? Here’s easy to reach garden ideas.
You may not know it by the name phenology, but you certainly know what it is. Phenology is the science of observing annual first events in nature. When flower buds open. When peepers first peep. When bees appear. When migrations arrive. When bulbs pop up. The list is endless.
Seasonal changes prompt natural responses in the plant and animal kingdoms. It is interesting to note these events and compare year over year.
Spring Phenological Events
Here’s a few examples you might notice.
- Sap runs in trees.
- Leaf buds may become larger.
- Magnolia trees may bloom.
- Parent birds are working hard to feed their young and protect their nests.
- Some insects may emerge if it’s warm enough.
- Flowering bulbs are blooming.
- Weather will toggle between winter and spring.
- Some days may not dip below freezing.
- Ponds and waterways are flowing again.
- New growth is emerging from the base of perennials.
Spring Gardening Checklist
If you would like to save and print the checklist (below), or keep it on your device, use the Add to Cart button (below).
This free download is in PDF format and can be read on any device with Adobe Reader (free). Watch where the file saves on your device so you know where to find it.
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛