April Garden Planner

Reader Contribution by Melodie Metje

April showers bring May flowers, fruits, herbs and vegetables. Now is the perfect time to get serious on getting your spring garden planted!

Crops To Plant in April

Early April is a perfect time to plant cold season crops like Brussels sprouts, fava beans, beans, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, collards, kale, lettuce, mustard, onions, parsley, parsnips, peas, potatoes, radishes, shallots, spinach, strawberries, Swiss chard and turnips.

We still get frosts in April so you want to hold off on planting warm season crops outdoors like tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and squash.

The last frost date in our area is around April 20. This is important to know if you are planting seeds. The packet tells you when to plant in relation to your last frost date. You will get the best results following the packet instructions.

Planting early is not always a good strategy as different seeds need different soil temperatures before they will germinate. Plant too early and they can rot before they have a chance to sprout.

Pots will warm up quicker, but will also chill down faster. You can put them in a sheltered spot to get a jump on spring. I love planting greens in large self watering pots that I keep on the patio, making it handy for picking a fresh salad for dinner.

What size pot do you need for a container veggie garden? Any varieties listed for a smaller pot will be happy in a larger pot, too. There are many more varieties out there than listed below. Just look at the seed packet for terms like patio, compact, or dwarf.

For containers 8 inches wide by 6 to 8 inches deep:

Carrots-Thumbelina, Parmex, Tonda di Parigi

Greens-arugula, corn salad, cress, small pac choi like Tatsoi, purslane

Lettuce or Kale-any type that you are going to continually harvest and not grow into full heads.

For containers 10 inches wide by 10 inches deep or larger, these will grow well:

Carrots-Atlas, Little Finger, Adelaide, Short n Sweet

Dwarf cabbage-5 Day Golden Cross (grew these last year and they did great in pots!), Parel, Caraflex

Eggplant with small fruits-Bambino, Casper, Fairytale, Neon, Patio Mohican, Slim Jim, White Egg

Greens-French sorrel, salad burnet, spinach

Herbs-any.  Mediterranean herbs love having dry feet.

Lettuce-Little Gem, Tennis Ball, Tom Thumb if growing to full heads

Peppers, compact types-Blushing Beauty, Chili Pepper Krakatoa, Habanero, Hungarian Yellow Wax, Sweet Pepper Ingrid, Prairie Fire, Red Delicious, Sweet Pickle, Zavory

Radishes-Amethyst, Cherry Bell, Pink Slipper, Poloneza, Red Head, Rudi

For containers 14 to 16 inches wide and 10 inches deep or larger:

Beans-compact bush types , Runner Beans
Broccoli raab
Cucumber, compact bush types-Lemon, Little Leaf, Suyo, Salad Bush, Fanfare, Sweet Success
All types of eggplant
Okra-Little Lucy
Onions-Apache, Pompeii or the perennial Egyptian Onion
Peas-dwarf bush types
All types of peppers (sweet peppers tend to be more productive in the ground)
Tomatoes, compact types-BushSteak, Celebrity, Daybreak, Johnny’s 361, Legend, Patio Princess, Sweet Baby Girl, Sweet n Neat
Summer squash, compact bush types-Gold Rush, Midnight, Venus, Patio Star

Containers 20 inches wide by 16 inches deep:

Beans-any bush type, more compact pole types (look for the ones have vines 6’ or less or you can pinch off the longer types)
Lettuce-all varieties
Peas-all bush types and more compact pole types (look for ones that vine 6’ or less)
Pumpkins-miniature Shallots Sweet potatoes
Winter squash, compact bush types-Butterbush Butternut

For large containers on the scale of a half whiskey or wine barrel:

Beans-all pole beans
Carrots-all varieties
Cucumbers-bush and vining types
Summer squash-Bush Baby, Space Miser, Egg Ball, Papaya Pear
Winter squash-Honey Bear, Carnival, Discus Bush Buttercup

When growing veggies in containers, they will require more watering and more liquid fertilizer than if they were in the ground. In the summer, you may have to water some water lovers every day. To reduce watering, purchase or make pots that have a water reservoir in the bottom. A couple on the market today are “Earthbox” and “Grow Box”. With these type of pots, you can water weekly. They are easy to make out of 5 gallon buckets or other plastic containers.

For more tips, visit my blog atwww.VictoryGardenOnTheGolfCourse.com