April in the Organic Food Garden


By Kath Irvine

excerpt taken from “Organic Garden Calendar” by Kath Irvine

 In the Vegie Patch

salads – last lot of Winter salads to be sown. Salads are at their best in the winter/ spring garden, so juicy and fresh! Sow little and often for year round harvest.

vegies – onions can be sown now

vegies for direct sowing – broad beans

Wood ash is an important addition to the broad bean bed – potash prevents chocolate spot. As long as your soil is in top health you can plant the seeds close together. This will help to beat out the weeds, give better wind and frost resistance and provide a bigger crop from less space. Broad beans will need a structure to grow up.

flowers: stock, poppy, bluebell, primulas



Other tasks

  • prepare your onion beds now – sweeten with a little lime and make sure they are free draining.
  • make sure all your beds are aerated before Winter hits. Don’t turn the soil over, just push your fork in as far as it will go and give it a wiggle, making puncture holes all over your bed. Add organic matter and plant out and mulch, or sow greencrops. Don’t leave your beds bare to the mercy of Winter rain and cold. You need to keep your microorganisms as active as possible over the colder months so you will be better prepared for Spring.
  • look out for celery leaf spot and remove all infected leaves, even the ones on the ground. Spray with seaweed.
  • Carrots and parsnips and yams will keep very well in the ground over Winter, getting sweeter with the cold weather.



Fruit Tree Care

Autumn is time to do a big cleanup in the orchard. Send your chooks or ducks or pigs in to do the work, and get your orchard manured at the same time! All the rotting fruits need to eaten up, as well as the pests that beginning to over-winter beneath your trees. Any diseased foliage must be cleaned up too.

  • you can stop using your codling moth traps once they have been empty for 2 weeks
  • burn codling moth cardboard traps
  • top up your orchard herbal ley with extra flowers
  • cut back old raspberry canes that have fruited this year, tie up new canes ready for next years fruit
  • plant out new strawberries into well composted beds
  • sprinkle Epsom salts around your grapefruits for juicy fruit
  • pruning time is upon us. Pruning is a lost art. It is essential to keep your trees strong, abundant and at a practical height. If you are unsure check out my pruning workshops