April Garden Tips: Patience for Plenty

April is a welcome month with its warmer days and colorful blooms. Tom Packer, president of the Gardeners of Wake County, shares these tips for home gardening. 
by Addie Ladner

Photo credit: Liz Condo

Prepare for Annuals

Now that your soil’s had a rest, it needs to be assessed and, most likely, amended. From April through November, the Wake County Master Gardener Extension program offers soil testing kits for free (visit wake.ces.ncsu.edu for info). “Depending on the results, you’ll know whether you need a nutrient fertilizer or something like lime to reset and nourish your soil,” says Packer, who suggests doing this once a year.

Practice Patience

You may be eager to get your garden going, but it’s risky to start summer vegetables like melons, cucumbers and beans at the beginning of April. Packer recommends waiting until the end of the month. “There’s no advantage to planting early — once you put them in the ground you can’t move them,” he says.

Welcome Hummingbirds

These tiny, brilliant birds start appearing this month! “The male hummingbirds come back first, then the females follow,” says Packer. He suggests planting colorful, tube-shaped flowers like salvia, foxglove or honeysuckle to encourage the birds to visit. “Plant mature plants so they will bloom as the weather warms,” says Packer. This is also the month to put out hummingbird feeders, he says; just be sure to clean them first.   

This article originally appeared in the April 2024 issue of WALTER magazine.