It’s early April in Southland, and the weather is remarkably settled and warm. Yes, we have had a mild frost or two, but the sun is shining a fair bit, keeping the midday temperatures comparatively balmy. So what’s there to do in the garden at this time of year?
The leaves will be starting to fall from the deciduous trees, and these can be raked up and added to the compost heap. There is still some growth in the lawns so these can be mown as needed and the clippings added to the composting mixture. Weeds are also making the most of the warmer temperatures along with reasonable levels of rainfall, so weeding frequently and hoeing garden beds is beneficial to keeping the garden looking tidy and free from weed competition.
One of the activities of April that is really enjoyable is the planting of bulbs like daffodils, tulips and hyacinths. These can be planted about twice as deep as the bulb is tall.
Keep your eyes out for the ripening blackberries either growing in a controlled manner in your garden or wild about the roads. There are still some apples available on some roadsides, too, so make the most of foraging during April. We just drove back through Canterbury over Easter and I have never seen so many beautifully ripe blackberries covering some of the roadside slopes on the inland Kaikoura route. Apple and blackberry pie is the perfect treat for pudding at this time of year.
April is a great month for weeding, cultivating, pruning and harvesting. Some veges to plant during April are brassicas, beets and lettuce. Broad beans can be sown, and April is a good time to get some berry bushes planted.