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What to do in the garden in April

Lisa Garden on 15-04-2013

This is one of the best and busiest times of the year, when it finally starts to get warmer and all the seeds seem to need sowing at once. Here's what you need to be getting on with in the garden this month:

General tasks:

  • Tackle bindweed as soon as it appears, training it up a cane before spraying with glyphosate-based weedkiller
  • Put slug defences in place: slug pubs, wildlife-friendly iron phosphate pellets and barriers are available in your favourite garden centre.

Ornamental garden:

  • Sow hardy annuals like marigolds, cornflowers and nasturtiums direct into the border for spectacular splashes of instant colour.
  • Dead-head daffodils to keep the display going, then let foliage die down naturally as it'll feed the bulb for next year.
  • Prune smoke bushes (Cotinus coggygria), cutting back last year's growth by half to encourage lots of colourful new stems and bright foliage.

Kitchen garden:

  • Sow veg seeds direct: carrots, beetroot and chard can all go straight into well-prepared, damp drills from this month.
  • Plant asparagus crowns, laying the spidery roots over ridges of soil made in the bottom of 15cm deep trenches and back-filling with rich soil.
  • Get beans growing: runner beans and French beans are frost-tender but can be sown now on a windowsill for planting out next month.