April

Fuyu Persimmon Blossom
What's Growin On In April


April is probably the best time of year to work on the garden.  The temperatures are not too hot or too cold and the sunshine is great along with the longer days.

The average high temperature for April is 85 F and average low is 60 F. The average rainfall drops to about a quarter of an inch total for the month with an average of two rainy days occurring during this month.

The average humidity in our area for April is 28%, with a morning average of 37% and afternoon low of 16%.

Mid to late spring, atemoya will break dormancy and flower (March, April, May). This is the opportunity to hand pollinate any flowers if you seek more abundant harvest or if the variety you have is not self-pollinating.

Other blossoms occurring during April may include Sapodilla (Dec - April), Rambutans (February - April), Guava (March - April), Persimmons (April), White Sapote (April), Coffee (March - May) and Olive Trees (March - May).

The olive tree blossoms are inconspicuous, and coffee beans reportedly smell like vanilla. Some alliums are shooting up their blossoms as well.  The California pepper tree will start budding whether male or female.

Divide and Conquer:
Saffron crocus

The saffron crocus grass leaf blades should have completely died back by now and can be put in the compost. This is the time to pull out and separate the bulbs, while dormant. If not, try to protect the bulbs from rodents and leave them be.

Feeding:


Apply a slow release citrus fertlizer to canistel, citrus, avocado, black sapote, chiko sapote, guava, kiwi vines, mangosteens, rambutans, soursop, white sapote. Top mangosteens, rambutans and olive trees with compost, water well.

Citrus × limon
In April, May, June, July, August and September, apply iron to black sapote and mamey sapote if the leaves look a bit yellow.

In April, May, June, July, August and September, apply soluble fertilizer OR compost rich top dressing to cacao tree and mamey sapote every six weeks.  Apply a soluble fertilizer to cinnamon tree, mango and coffee arabica every six weeks.

Help reduce the potential of fire blight on apple and pear trees by using a low nitrogen fertilizer.

Harvesting:

April or May, guava may become ripe. The guava is ripe when the color changes from bright green to a softer yellow green and maybe even a pink hue with a slightly soft feel, much like an avocado.  A ripe guava scent becomes musky,
Allium schoenoprasum blossom
sweet and 'penetrating'.

November, December, January, February, March  and April kiwi vines may bear fruit.

We currently have a consistent supply of alliums and herbs to cut and come again almost year round.

Mulching:


Laurus nobilis 'LNSS'
Mulch is very important for container gardens and for raised garden beds. This is a great time to check and make sure you have enough for your established plants.  Tropical plants require a very deep layer of mulch.

Consider a living mulch, which is a compatible plant that helps keep the roots moist, doesn't compete with the plant root system and keeps the bad weeds at bay.  A great nitrogen fixer or a compatible type of plant for a wide range of plants is the white clover. This is a huge win for beekeepers as it is a multi-duty solution.

Planting:
Cucumis sativus 'Lemon'


Transplants like beans, brussel sprouts, carrots, corn, cucumbers, onions and squash can be set out in a shaded garden.

Pruning:

In April, May, June, July, and August selectively prune mamey sapote for desirable height, shape and well balanced development.  Cut off branches that are less or more than 45 degree angle from the main trunk.

As part of pruning, this is a good time to take softwood cuttings and set them in a humid environment to develop roots before the winter comes.

The general rule of pruning is to never remove more than 1/4 of the total plant. Always use sharp, sterile, quality pruning tools and disinfect them between cuts to prevent the spread of disease. Rodale has an excellent article on garden tool maintenance.

During spring and summer months, combat fire blight through pruning, if necessary.

Sowing:

Some seeds can be started indoors if they can remain indoors for a few months before planting outside.

Sunning:


Solarizing soils and planters can be done at this time. Cover with a dark plastic to increase heat and kill off most seeds and pests that could be lurking around in the ground.

Shading:
30% Shade On Greenhouse Frame


Break out the 30% shade cloth to protect the garden bounty from the solar heat.

April and May are the months to paint the vulnerable tree trunks such as avocadocitrusblack sapotepersimmon and fig. Latex paint or latex paint and water mixture preferred. White is the standard, but people paint their tree trunks all sorts of colors.  The purpose of painting tree trunks is to prevent temperature change damage.

Water:

If your using an easy watering solution, such as the Global bucket system, flush out the water, if possible. If you're looking for a self watering system, there are several DIY plans available online. Global buckets started with one design and now hosts several designs for self watering containers.

In our area, the water has a higher mineral salt content.  Ensure plants are watered deeply at least once a week to get the salts away from the root zones.