April in the Spanish Garden

By Clodagh and Dick Handscombe Spain’s best known practical gardeners, authors and gardening broadcasters resident in Spain for more than twenty years.

The Situation in the Garden

After the warmest spring for some years gardens and orchards are several weeks ahead of the average situation. However vegetable gardens are a couple of weeks late in many areas as the heavy rains of last autumn delayed many autumn plantings. But recent warm weather has meant that land that lay fallow during the winter can prepared early for bean, tomato, pepper, courgette, squash and melon plantings etc. Against this general background the following represent the most important tasks for April for most gardeners in Spain.

Top Ten April Tasks

  • As the early flushes of flowers finish on daisy like plants such as margaritas deadhead to stimulate continuous flowering .
  • Make the main new or infill plantings of flowering plants, shrubs and trees. But first ensure that you prepare/improve the soil.
  • Ensure young plantlets grown from seed are kept damp and protected from slugs and snails especially in the greenhouse and cold frame.
  • Fruit trees are in blossom or are already bearing small fruits. To ensure that they continue to swell and not fall give trees a spring feed and a weekly soaking down to the level of the main roots. A fortnightly preventive neem and propolis spray against various flying insects and air born fungi would also be advisable.
  • Prepare fallow land for Spring plantings. In warmer areas many of these will have already been made.
  • As soon as the harvests of peas and broad beans are over prepare the soil for summer crops.
  • Watch out for asparagus beetles which are early this year and spray and squash as soon as seen.
  • Earth up the rows of potatoes to increase crops.
  • If not already done so start to spray at least fortnightly against the geranium moths.
  • Continue to dry orange, mandarin, lemon and grapefruit slices overnight while crops last.

Each of the above tasks and others for the month are described in detail in the trilogy of books Your garden in Spain, Growing healthy fruit in Spain and Growing healthy vegetables in Spain published by Santana Books.

© Clodagh and Dick Handscombe April 2008.