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Garden Activities for April

In most of the Northeast, it is April that marks the true beginning of spring. Emerging from a frozen landscape, the soil begins to thaw, hardy seeds start to sprout, and suddenly our garden to-do list is packed with opportunities for organization, clean-up and, most excitingly, sowing. But beware! The transition from relative winter relaxation to the opportunity-laden spring months of April and May can happen very quickly. To stop the mud from becoming a muddle, here’s a list of activities to set up your season for success.

Hori Hori Garden Knife

Hori Hori Garden Knife

The ultimate all-purpose garden tool.


1. Organize! While it may seem boring, it is well worth taking a step back to organize your gardening gear before the season starts in earnest.

  • Ready your tools – a gardener without reliable tools is like a gardener with empty hands. Tasks will take you much longer and you will be less effective. To learn how to clean, sharpen and fix your tools, see our post on Garden Tool Maintenance.
  • Remove any finished compost from your compost pile. Before cleaning up over-wintered garden debris (more below) to add to your compost pile, remove (and screen) any finished compost from your pile. The finished product can be used to top-dress beds when you prepare them for the main growing season.
  • Organize your seeds. Particularly if you’re planning to do successions of different vegetables throughout the season, you’ll want a to have a calendar showing when you should start your seeds. Once the calendar is ready, organize your seeds by week (or month) so that you don’t have to sort through endless seed packs each week! 

Opinel Hand Pruner - Navy

Opinel Hand Pruner - Navy

Quality pruners, made in France cut clean and effortlessly

Out of stock

2. Clean-up. 

Perennial plants including various herbs, flowers, asparagus, and rhubarb among many others, grow anew each year. If you haven’t yet removed old, dried stalks from last season, now is the time. Cut them a couple of inches above the ground and compost the rest.

April is also when we start to see volunteer annuals popping up around the garden. These are varieties that sowed themselves in the past growing season. If you want to transplant them to a different section of the garden, simply wait till the plant grows at least its first set of true leaves and then transplant during a string of days where there is no frost in the forecast. If you don't want to keep them, treat them as a weed, or spring's first amuse-bouche. Discard any volunteer nightshades! Overwintered tomato, pepper, or eggplant seedlings have a greater chance of carrying disease than other plant families, so it is best to start such varieties from seed.

3. Prepare Beds. If you’re planning to direct sow varieties that can be started as soon as the soil can be worked, you will probably be thinking about bed preparation. This is a whole subject in itself so make sure to check out our post on Making the bed - top tips for germination.

If you’re planting in pots, then you will need to make sure you have planters at the ready, and some good quality organic soil.

4. Sow, Sow and Sow! Peas, hardy spring greens, scallions and radishes can all be started early outdoors. Cold-weather brassica seedlings - such as broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts - can be transplanted outdoors toward the end of the month. There is still time to start tomatoes, eggplants, and pepper seeds indoors, despite the passing of their so-called "ideal" start-dates - read about the forgiving and expansive seed-starting times here.

For a full list of what you can plant this month, see our page Sow What Now in April.

Mid-Weight Row Cover Cut to Length - 83 Inch Width

Mid-Weight Row Cover Cut to Length - 83 Inch Width

Fend off pests and frost with this essential organic gardening supply.




4. Prepare for cold. Early spring days are mostly chilly, and the chance of frost is likely. Hardy crops will grow, but temperature dips will slow them down. Protect your seedlings and speed up the time till your first harvest by building cold-frames or setting up row covers.

5. Tend to garlic. In the spring, when temperatures rise and the ground begins to thaw, remove the mulch off to the side to help warm the soil. Replace the mulch around the garlic plants once the weather has warmed to help suppress weeds.

Sow Outdoors Early Set

Sow Outdoors Early Set

Imagine the first harvests with these cool loving spring varieties!

Sow Indoors Early Starter Set: Hardy

Sow Indoors Early Starter Set: Hardy

Think of spring when getting these early hardy varieties stared indoors.

Sow Indoors Early Starter Set: Tender

Sow Indoors Early Starter Set: Tender

Start your solanaceous from seed this year!

2 thoughts on “Garden Activities for April”

  • sabra segal
    sabra segal 04/14/2018 at 2:09 pm

    I want to send Two samples of my painted drawings for your Seed Catalogue Artist Call,
    and the complexity involved to do that with only an ipad has made it impossible to do all
    at once.I can forward my two sample drawings in one email to you and then try to forward
    the Application to you in a second email.
    Do you handle all of your selections only via email without ever having appointments with
    the chosen Artists?

    • Isabel Vinton
      Isabel Vinton 04/16/2018 at 9:35 am

      Hi Sabra, thanks for getting in touch! All of our submissions are handled online. Unfortunately, with the number of applications we receive it's not possible to meet artists in this initial stage in person. If you're having problems with the online application, please feel free to send your application by email to: Mail@hudsonvalleyseed.com Good luck!


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