UPDATE: This In the Garden, monthly guide for April has been updated with new gardening tasks and scheduled plantings, and Farmers' Almanac weather forecasts and moon phases for April 2016.
Thinking about starting a new hobby? Maybe grow a bit of your own food or flower this year? Get growing and going with this post from the archives, Preparing Your (New or Existing) Garden.
April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.
~William ShakespeareThe subtle signs of the season are springing up around the Texas Hill Country. Chilly mornings warm to sunny afternoons. Tender green-leafed branches provide the perfect stage for the trill of birdsong. Winter's thaw yields a riotous profusion of color soon-- the bluebonnets are already dotting roadsides, to be accompanied by wildflowers of yellows, oranges, reds, and purples so vivid they seem to have been hand-painted.
It promises to be another glorious Texas spring.
In the Garden: AprilIn this post, find information about gardening in general, and planting advice specifically for USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 8. To find the USDA zone in which you garden, consult the map, below, or visit usda.gov, and adjust planting dates accordingly.
Fertilize: Tomatoes and peppers should be fed with a liquid fertilizer. Feed crape myrtle beneath the branch spread with 1/3 cup complete fertilizer per sq. yd. After second mowing, fertilize lawn with 3-1-2 ratio product; aerate first, if needed. Fertilize all houseplants with complete fertilizer.
Mulch trees, shrubs, vegetable garden and flower beds (after soil has warmed) with 2-4 inches of mulch. Pine needles and oak leaves make a good mulch for acid-loving plants. Spread coffee grounds around azaleas and other acid-loving plants.
Water: Water as needed.
Transplant: Divide and transplant late summer-and fall-flowering bulbs. Container-grown plants (almost any kind) can go into the ground now. Plant summer annuals to get their root systems established before the extreme heat arrives.
Lawn Care: Plant grass sod or plugs. Water daily for one or two weeks to establish. Begin regular lawn care. Mow every 5-7 days, leaving the clippings on the lawn. Keep St. Augustine grass at 2-1/2 to 3 inches.
1st-3rd. Stormy weather conditions. 4th-7th. Sunshine, dry weather. 8th-11th. Blustery winds spread east. 12th-15th. Fair skies prevail for most areas. 16th-19th. Unsettled weather. 20th-23rd. Potentially severe thunderstorms for Arkansas, down into Louisiana. Storms may be capable of cloud-to-ground lightning, damaging winds, large hail, even tornadoes. 24th-27th. Abundant sunshine. 28th-30th. Clouds, showers move in from the West.
GARDENING BY THE MOON | APRIL 2016
1st-3rd Excellent time to kill weeds, briars, poison ivy, and other plant pests.
4th-5th Set strawberry plants. Excellent for any vine crops, such as beans, peas, and cucumbers. Good days for transplanting. Favorable days for planting root crops.
6th-7th Poor planting days. Break ground or cultivate.
8th-9th Favorable for planting beans, corn, cotton, tomatoes, peppers, and other above-ground crops.
10th-11th Poor days for planting, seeds tend to rot in ground.
12th-13th Plant seedbeds and start flower gardens. Plant tomatoes, beans, peppers, corn, cotton, and other above-ground crops on these most fruitful days.
14th-18th Grub out weeds, briars, and other plant pests.
19th-20th A favorable time for sowing grains, hay, and fodder crops. Plant flowers. Plant corn, melons, squash, tomatoes, and other above-ground crops.
21st-23rd Start seedbeds. First day is a favorable day for planting above-ground crops, especially cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, kale, celery, and other leafy vegetables. Last two days are good days for transplanting. Last two days are also good days for planting beets, carrots, radishes, turnips, peanuts, and other root crops. Also good for Leafy vegetables.
24th-25th Neither plant nor sow on these barren days.
26th-28th Favorable days for planting beets, carrots, turnips, radishes, onions, and other root crops.
29th-30th Excellent time to kill weeds, briars, poison ivy, and other plant pests.
Bulbs: Achimenes, acidanthera, allium, alstroemeria, amarcrinum, amaryllis, ground orchid, caladium, calla, canna, crinum, dahlia, daylily, dietes, ginger, gladiolus, gloriosa daisy, host, spider lily, hyposix, liriope, monkey grass, rain lily, society garlic, tigridia.
All Month: Amaranth, Bean, Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Muskmelon, Okra, Peanuts, Pumpkin, Southern Pea, Sweet Potato, Tomatillo, Watermelon
Fruit: Container grown fruit and nut trees, vines, bushes