The month of April is very demanding for those who take care of the vegetable garden: in the southern regions some open field crops have already started, while in the North the soil is worked and the plants are planted. It is a very important moment because we need to plan the most productive period of the year. April is certainly one of the most laborious months. The structure of the garden is defined, the solanaceae and the cucurbits are planted, which will bear fruit in the summer months until late autumn. In this period we must begin to cope with the first pests and insects that with the first warm are attracted by our vegetables.
In our peninsula there are significant climatic differences: for this reason it is difficult to give general indications on the work to be carried out. In northern mountainous areas, most crops are delayed by about 50 days compared to Sicily. Among these extremes is the Po Valley and the coastal areas of Central Italy. We can say that in the southern and coastal regions many open field crops have certainly been started in March and should therefore be maintained. In the inland areas and in the north it is the time for outdoor plants. Almost everywhere, however, depending on the vegetables, attention must be paid to the minimum temperatures reached during the night: if sudden drops are expected, it is advisable to arrange protections (geotextile sheets) or tunnels, remembering to ventilate often during the day.
Let us get to work a few days after the last rains: we will work more easily and avoid compacting heavy soils. In general digging should be done in autumn, but we can also proceed now, paying particular attention to the surface layers: they must be hoed or milled very finely, especially if we want to insert delicate seedlings or plant seedlings with very fine grains (carrots, lettuces) .
It is the right time also for a good coverage fertilizer: slow release granular products are ideal: we distribute the doses indicated for the individual crops of the garden that we have in the project.
We recommend, if possible, to set up an irrigation system and mulch with plastic sheets: we will reduce weeding and water needs. Otherwise we already make the grooves where to channel the water.
Sowing and planting
In this period it is possible to carry out sowing indoors or even directly at home.
In the greenhouse the most suitable are watermelon, cucumber, melon, pumpkin and courgette. In the open ground it is possible to start, in the first part of the month, with beets, carrots, summer cabbages, red onions, lettuces, leeks and summer spinach. Towards the end of the month, instead, we will go to more thermophilic vegetables such as green beans and beans, cucumbers, melon, pumpkin, courgette and tomato.
April is also the right month to plant seedlings with earthen bread, sown by us or purchased from nurseries. In tunnels everywhere watermelons, cucumbers, courgettes, melons, aubergines, peppers and tomatoes grow well. In the open field at the beginning of the month, instead, we insert basil, cucumber and lettuce. The inclusion of aubergines, courgettes, tomatoes, pumpkins and celery should also no longer be a problem.
Works in the garden in April: Other jobs, pests and diseases
In April it is important to dedicate to irrigation, in the case of drought, and to the fight against weeds. In the first case let us remember to distribute water in the right measure to avoid stress, but also the onset of rot.
The weeds, on free ground, should be removed regularly with slight hoes: however we avoid damaging the newly inserted seedlings.
It is essential to start immediately the fight against diseases. Some, due to the roots, can be avoided with frequent crop rotations and using resistant varieties.
For others it is good to prevent: we avoid wetting the leaves, we promptly eliminate the damaged ones and the basal ones (in contact with the ground). We regularly distribute cover products such as sulfur and copper. For insects we can rely on pyrethroids (low deficiency), pyrethrins or the frequent application of macerates. In this respect, let us not forget to put into practice the right associations.