new issue on salenow!
What to do in April

What to do in April

Story by

April brings a noticable change in season in many parts of Australia. With winter closing in, JUSTIN RUSSELL offers some ideas on what to plant, harvest and tend during mid-autumn.

  • What to plant: In the tropics plant eggplant, zucchini, capsicum, pumpkin, corn and tomatoes. In the subtropics, try all of the above and add broccoli, peas, potatoes and carrots. In arid/semi-arid zones plant celery, coriander, radish, rocket and beetroot. In warm and cool temperate climates plant garlic, leek, English spinach, leafy greens, broad beans, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, turnip, carrot, parsnip, celery, kale, silverbeet, and beetroot.
  • What to harvest: Late season apples and pears, autumn fruiting berries, early citrus, figs, persimmons, pomegranates, late beans, tomatoes, chillies, capsicum, corn, potatoes, cucumber, lettuce, zucchini and sweet potato.
  • April is a good time to make compost in almost all parts of Australia, getting the most out of crop residues left over from summer. Aim for a ratio of one part green/nitrogen rich material to at least 10 (or more) parts brown/carbon rich material. Wet the pile down as you make it to activate the decomposition process.
  • In cold areas, protect vulnerable plants from early frosts by covering with hessian or “frost cloth”. A dark coloured rain barrel can also provide a significant amount of warmth when placed near newly planted evergreen trees.
  • Finish planting garlic this month. Enrich the soil with rotted manure and compost beforehand, and add garden lime if your soil is acidic. Plant the fattest cloves, removing them from the base plate of the bulb just before sowing.
  • Chooks are likely to be moulting at the moment in preparation for winter. Feathers are almost pure protein, so make sure you feed your birds a high protein feed, and supplement with greens. Hungry chooks also appreciate picking at fish bones, natural yoghurt, and cheese, all of which are high in protein.
  • For a quick turnaround in the vegie patch before the onset of winter plant speed demons such as radish, rocket, mizuna, mustard, and wombok. For comprehensive info on Asian greens check out Penny Woodwards article in the latest issue of OG magazine.
  • Keep an eye out for cabbage white butterflies, which will lay their eggs on maturing brassica crops. Dipel is s safe and effective spray, but a simpler (and more effective) option is to cover the plants with light weight, finely woven exclusion netting.