What To Do In Your Garden In April [Planting Guide]

What To Do In Your Garden In April [Planting Guide]

It’s April, and that means in most USDA gardening zones, there’s lots of work to be done!

 

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We’re in Zone 7, so we’ve already set out our cool weather crops, and by the first week of April, we’ll be ready to start harvesting our first veggies of the season!

 

This article is broken down by zones to make it easier for you to know exactly what you should be doing in April in your garden.

 

If you’re not sure what zone you live in, you can check that here.

 

Here’s what you can do in your garden right now!

 

Zone 3

 

Zone 4

 

Zone 5

  • When the weather is mild and soil warm enough, transplant early tomatoes outdoors, inside hoop houses
  • Sow a second planting of lettuce, radishes, and spinach outdoors.
  • Continue to grow squash, melons, tomatoes, peppers cucumbers, and corn indoors and under lights.
  • Plant fruit trees.
  • Start herbs such as basil, thyme, and mint

 

Zone 6

 

Zone 7

  • Thin greens and radishes as needed.
  • Plant fruit trees.
  • If purchasing transplants, choose compact plants that have not begun to flower.
  • Remove row covers from peas as long as the weather is mild.
  • Transplant broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower
  • Mulch around cool-season crops to retain moisture and keep roots cool as weather warms.
  • Start cucumber, cantaloupe, summer squash, and watermelon indoors and under lights.
  • Now is the time to start luffa.
  • Set out transplants of tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and sweet potatoes.
  • Set out culinary herbs
  • Prune peach trees.

 

Zone 8

 

Zone 9

  • Plant heat-loving pumpkins, squash, melons, peppers, sweet potatoes, and eggplants
  • Every 2 weeks, succession plant bush beans and corn.
  • Continue to plant cool weather crops until the end of the month
  • Transplant tomatoes and peppers.
  • Continue to plant culinary herbs

 

Zone 10

  • Harvest spinach, lettuce, and broccoli.
  • Plant heat-loving pumpkins, squash, melons, peppers, sweet potatoes, and eggplants
  • Be sure to add lots of compost to your soil if it’s sandy and lacking nutrients

 

I’d like to hear from you!

What do you think you’ll plant in April? Leave a comment below!

It’s June…Here’s 17 Vegetables You Can Still Plant For a Full Fall Harvest!

It’s June…Here’s 17 Vegetables You Can Still Plant For a Full Fall Harvest!

It maybe June (can you believe we’re halfway through the year?), but there’s still plenty you can plant for a late summer/fall harvest!

 

(This is an excerpt from my #1 Amazon Bestselling book Organic By Choice: The (Secret) Rebel’s Guide To Backyard Gardening. If you want a great resource to help you grow everything listed below, grab it on Amazon right here!)

 

Believe me when I say that there’s veggies on this list I’ll be planting myself – I just cleaned out the greenhouses, spread rabbit manure to add nutrients to the soil, and I’ll be planting some beans, beets, and greens I hope to overwinter!

 

Even if you haven’t started your garden, don’t despair – there’s still plenty of time!

 

Here’s 17 plants you can still start this month!

 

Beans

Lots of varieties love the warmer weather! You can harvest some varieties in as little as 45 days. In hotter areas, stick with bush varieties to conserve water. Direct sow every two weeks for a continued harvest well into fall. Plant 10-15 plants per person in your family.

 

Beets

You can grow beets for either the roots or the greens. Direct sow in the soil now, and they’ll be ready to harvest in 45-60 days. Pickle them to preserve them!

 

Bok Choy

I love bok choy because it’s mild (aka not bitter), you can harvest it when it’s still young for a super nutritious addition to any sandwich or salad.

 

Broccoli

While you might not connect broccoli with something you should grow in June, especially in climates with a shorter growing season, you can start it now so it’s ready to harvest when the nights start to dip below 50 degrees.

 

Cabbage

If you plant cabbage now, you can harvest well into cooler weather (cabbage loves lower temperatures!) It takes a bit of time to grow big enough for harvest, so make sure it has a dedicated space you won’t need for anything else.

 

Calendula (C. officinalis)

This medicinal herb/flower can be used for so many purposes, from giving chickens golden egg yolks to creating healing salves for your family. Direct sow, and seeds will germinate in about 2 weeks.

 

Carrots

If you start your carrots now, you can still get an early fall crop – and they can hang out in the garden well into late fall.

 

Corn

Corn grows fairly quickly, but it needs full sun and lots of water. You can harvest it in as little as 70 days if you choose a fast-maturing variety. If you want to harvest enough for your whole family, plan on 12 – 15 ears per person.

 

Cucumbers

Consider bush cucumbers to save space and water. You can harvest them when they’re small for sweet pickles.

 

Eggplant

Eggplant loves heat, and you can see purple eggplants starting to form in as little as 60 days. Choose a fast-growing variety. If your family loves eggplant, you should plan on 3 plants per person.

 

Herbs

There’s plenty of herbs you can start right now, including:

 

  • Basil (grow several plants for a winter full of pesto)
  • Oregano (Greek oregano has great, large leaves)
  • Thyme
  • Sage (grow 7-10 plants for smudge sticks)
  • Dill (grow 3-4 plants for leaves, 10 or more for dill seed for pickling)
  • Parsley
  • Cilantro
  • Lavender

 

You can plant herbs outside or in pots so you can bring them in at the end of season. Remember you will need time to dry them – so don’t plant too many and get overwhelmed.

 

Melons

Now is a great time to start watermelons and cantaloupe! Plan on 3 – 4 plants per person in your family.

 

Peas

Count on 20 plants per person.

 

Squash

Squash loves heat, and will grow quickly in the higher temperatures. Yellow summer squash is a great variety, as are gourd varieties.

 

Sunflowers

You can let them go to seed for a healthy snack or harvest them for cut flowers.

 

Swiss Chard

Perfect if you have a shady spot in your garden, which will help the leaves from bolting and becoming bitter.

 

Turnips

Plant for greens and/or the roots. You will be able to harvest them long into the fall.

 

I’d like to hear from you!

What are you planting right now? Leave a comment below!

3 Square Foot Gardening Plant Spacing Ideas

3 Square Foot Gardening Plant Spacing Ideas

Square foot gardening plant spacing seems like it should be simple, but if you don’t take companion planting into consideration, then you run the risk of your garden turning into a total flop.

 

NOTHING is worse than doing everything right, only to have a garden that doesn’t yield anything.

 

square foot gardening plant spacing

 

Ask me how I know – somehow, our sweet potato harvest this year didn’t go as planned. And it was disappointing to pull up the plants I’d waited 5 months to harvest only to find they never actually grew anything.

 

(Tomatoes on the other hand….we harvested nearly 100 pounds. You win some, you lose some, right?) Here’s my tips on growing tomatoes. This tomato gardening tip helped with our harvest, too!

 

Square foot gardening plant spacing consists of a few things:

  1. Figure out what you want to grow (and when to start the seeds indoors)
  2. Research how many plants can grow in each square foot garden space
  3. Consult a companion planting guide so you can be sure your vegetables will grow well next to each other.

Want an easy square foot gardening for beginners resource and square foot gardening plant spacing ideas? These are 3 genius ideas for square foot gardening plans and square foot gardening layout ideas!

What is square foot gardening & why does spacing matter?

Now, if you don’t know what square foot gardening is, it’s simply a garden segmented into 1 foot by 1 foot squares (I mean this method isn’t called square foot gardening for nothing, right?) and in each square, vegetables, herbs, or fruit are grown.

 

(If you want to read more about this, you can grab my book Organic By Choice: The (Secret) Rebel’s Guide To Backyard Gardening. Use coupon code SQUAREFOOT to save 10%!)

 

The amount of plants grown in one square foot depends on the type of plant – some squares will have more and some will have less.

 

Get it wrong, and your garden might not perform the way you expect because all the nutrients will either go to one plant, squeezing the others out.

 

Or the nutrients will be distributed among each plant, but it won’t be enough for each to flourish, and they’ll all be stunted or grow poorly.

 

Now, I’ve tried a lot of gardening methods. I mean a LOT. And as far as simplicity goes, square foot gardening is the bee’s knees, particularly because it makes plant spacing easy.

 

Square Foot Gardening lets you maximize your space so you get high yields from a small area. But just because it’s simple doesn’t mean you can ignore the needs of your vegetable plants.

 

If your square foot gardening plant spacing is off, then your ship is pretty much sunk before it even starts.

 

If your garden happens limited in size, then planning your square foot gardening plant spacing before digging into the dirt will let you make the best use of your gardening space that way.

 

If you only have a few feet, then growing onions, which need quite a bit of space, are heavy feeders, and need a long growing season probably isn’t your best choice.

 

Growing lettuce, tomatoes, and herbs will give you a greater yield in your tiny space and let you have a more satisfactory harvest and overall experience.


Want to know more about growing herbs? Click here to learn more about my book, Herbs In Your Backyard.

 


square foot gardening plant spacing

How to plan your square foot gardening plant spacing to be correct

 

Each January, before I begin even thinking of seed starting, I list all the herbs and vegetables I plan to grow as well as their individual needs. (I don’t personally grow fruit in my garden – they live elsewhere on the farm).

 

I also consult a table that tells me how many plants of each species should go in each square and double check my companion planting guide (you can download it here) so I know which veggies play nice and which don’t.

 

While this advice seems ultra simple and obvious, once you actually begin plotting your garden with square foot gardening plant spacing, you’ll notice that you might need to think a bit before deciding on a final plan.

 

If you get stuck, one easy fail-safe is that most plants do well being planted next to herbs (that being said, there are some plants that need lots of space, like onions, so it’s really best to use a companion planting guide.)

 

So, square foot gardening plant spacing is important, as is making sure your companion planting is on point.

 

Note: If you grab my bestseller Organic By Choice: The (Secret) Rebel’s Guide To Backyard Gardening, you’ll find several templates to help you plan your garden. Get it here & use coupon code SQUAREFOOT to save 10%

There’s also my favorite templates for a Salsa Garden, and All Tomato Garden, and more.

 

Here’s a brief list of popular vegetables and how far apart they should be and how many seeds to plant in each square:

 

Greens: 6 inches from each other, 4 plants

Carrots: 3 inches, 16 plants

Broccoli: 18 inches, 1 plant

Eggplant: 24 inches, 1 plant

 

After figuring out what you plan to grow, then draw out a grid the size of your garden (to scale) and segment your “garden” into 1 x 1 foot squares (again, to scale).

 

Start filling in the boxes with what you plan to grow – use your list, the square foot gardening template or list above, plus the companion planting guide to decide on a final arrangement.

 

If you  get stuck, or want to grow several plants that won’t grow well together, then prioritize. Is growing onions really necessary, or will you or your family prefer more tomatoes for pizza or herbs for homegrown herbal tea (try growing some of these perennial herbs!)?

 

Using this guide, you should be well on your way to planning your square foot gardening plant spacing for a healthy, full harvest this summer!

 

square foot gardening plant spacing

More Tips for Square Foot Gardening:

 

Not Sure What Crops To Grow In May? Here’s Answers! [Planting Guide]

Not Sure What Crops To Grow In May? Here’s Answers! [Planting Guide]

It’s May, but for different areas of the country, that means different crops you can start!

 

Here in Zone 7, we’re well under way, and have already harvested our cool weather crops, and my tomato plants have had a sudden growth spurt.

 

My friends in Zones 3 and 4, however, are just getting started (and I have friends who are still under frozen tundra!)

 

In this article, we’ll discuss what to grow in USDA Zones 3-10, which covers most of the contiguous United States.

 

Zones 9 and 10

This is where you can find some early heat, so you won’t be able to plant a lot of seeds in this region. This is why you will have to focus on starting with some transplants.

 

You can use lima beans, cantaloupe, cucumber, eggplant, jicama, okra, peppers, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, winter and summer squash as well as watermelon and tomatillo. Edible cactuses are another option.

 

If you live in a desert area or if water is scarce, choose varieties that are drought resistant. Eggplants, for example, thrive in arid desert environments.

 

Make sure you water generously in the mornings or evening dusk (very morning will help your plants withstand the mid-day heat.

 

Zones 7 and 8

For these zones, you will be ok with planting lima beans, snap beans as well as sweet corn, cucumber, eggplants, okra, peppers, sweet potatoes, winter and summer squash as well as watermelons.

 

If you want watermelons, you may want to grow them early in the month, especially if you’re direct sowing with seeds. Cantaloupe is another option, be sure to allow it to trellis to keep it off the ground and away from critters.

 

If you have a cooler area of your property, you can still sneak in some radishes and baby lettuce in Zone 7, but kale and broccoli will bolt, as will lettuce if it’s not harvested at an early stage.

 

Zones 5 and 6

Here you may also want to opt for some specific seeds. These include watermelons, tomatoes, summer and winter squash, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, peppers, okra, lettuce, eggplants, sweet corn, cucumbers, cantaloupes as well as lima and snap beans!

 

What you have to note about these two zones is that they don’t’ have to deal with such a challenging weather as other regions do. This is why you can opt for a variety of crops. Thankfully, these can be planted throughout May, with little to no problems.

 

Zones 3 and 4

For these zones, you will see that you can easily plant a wide array of seeds, and the temperature is on your side. You can still start watermelon and cantaloupe inside a greenhouse.

 

Kale, radish, head and leaf lettuce, peas, chard, carrots, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, beets can all be started outdoors – if frost threatens the tender starts, be sure to cover with a cold frame.

 

When the ground is workable, you can plant your potatoes.

 

You can start hardening off your tomatoes, summer and winter squash, pumpkins, cantaloupe, cucumbers, but if frost threatens, leave them indoors. A frost will kill them, wasting your work.

 

This is quite an incredible investment and one that will almost certainly pay off very well in the end.

 

The idea here is to invest in crops that deliver a very good quality and which are easy to nurture and take care of. Most of them can be grown throughout May, although chard and leaf lettuce are better grown at the earliest parts of May to prevent bolting.

 

I’d like to hear from you!

Which of these vegetables and fruits are you growing? Leave a comment below!