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What to plant in April: Best vegetables and flowers to grow

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If you’re itching to get your garden started, here’s what to plant in April

In many parts of the country, spring has finally returned and the soil is warming up. It's time at last to get out into the garden to get this year's bounty growing.

While it's still too early for many of your favorite summer crops, some cold-hardy vegetables and flowers can go in the ground right now. Be mindful of your local conditions and you could be enjoying freshly harvested vegetables in just a couple weeks.

Shop this article: Gardeners Basics Flower Seeds 35 Varieties, Burpee Organics Gourmet Blend Lettuce Seeds and Planket Frost Protection Plant Cover

Preparing your garden for spring

While it may be tempting to just stick plants in the ground and get an instant dose of spring color, most plants need a little more preparation in order to thrive. In April, take care of a few key steps to give your garden the best possible growing environment.

  • Prep your tools: Make sure your tools are clean, sharp and free from rust. Dirty tools can pass on fungus or bacteria from the previous year.
  • Weed and clear dead growth: Make sure to clear the planting area of any weeds that could compete with your seedlings for nutrients.
  • Test the soil: If you know what nutrients your soil lacks, you can correct the issue with the right kind of fertilizer. Look for soil test kits that can test nutrients, as well as soil pH.
  • Amend the soil: Last year's soil will have been depleted of nutrients. Refresh existing soil with compost or fertilizer to ensure your new plants have what they need to grow.
  • Mulch or cover: If you live in a colder region, you'll want to mulch your new plantings or use row covers to control moisture and protect the plants from frost.

The best flowers and vegetables to plant in April

Whether you're starting seeds indoors or planting directly in the ground, this time of year is perfect for planting just about everything and anything. Many growing regions are approaching their average last frost date, meaning it's possible to start planting cold-hardy or cold-tolerant crops. First and last frost dates are important data for gardening, but they're not set-in-stone guidelines. Keep an eye on your local weather forecast and be prepared to protect tender seedlings from sudden cold.

If you live in a region that can see frost as late as May, consider starting your seeds indoors or under cover until it's warm enough to transplant them outside. In many cases, flower seeds are more likely to benefit from sowing indoors until seedlings emerge. Check your local conditions or ask your local university extension service for advice.

Best vegetables to plant in April

  • Beets: Sow seeds for these tasty, cold-hardy veggies in two-week intervals to enjoy more frequent harvests.
  • Carrots: You can start a carrot crop even if you're still a couple weeks before your last frost. Plant in the ground or in a container that's at least 12 inches deep.
  • Kale: Easy-growing kale can be planted alongside onions, garlic and herbs to ward away pests and attract beneficial insects. Baby kale can be harvested just a few weeks after planting.
  • Lettuces and spinach: Lettuce bolts easily in high temperatures, so get a head start on your harvest by sowing in spring.
  • Peas: Space snow or snap pea seeds about an inch apart alongside a trellis that lets them climb.

Best flowers to plant in April

When it comes to flowers, plant cold-hardy nursery starts for instant color or sow seeds for blooms in a couple weeks. In many parts of the country, this is also the right time to plant summer- and fall-flowering bulbs, such as dahlias and many kinds of lilies.

Before you plant, be sure to note any local restrictions regarding invasive plants. A flower that may be perfectly fine in one part of the country may threaten your local ecosystem.

  • Bleeding heart: This classic perennial prefers part to full shade. It self-seeds and it can be propagated to enjoy throughout your garden.
  • Dahlias: These flowers can be enjoyed outside or in a vase from late summer until first frost.
  • Pansies: These forgiving annuals can be planted in late spring for low-maintenance color until it gets too hot.
  • Sweet peas: Fragrant and colorful, these abundant flowers are drought-tolerant and easy to grow.

What flowers and vegetables to plant in April

Gardeners Basics Flower Seeds 35 Varieties

This variety pack includes 35 seed packets containing different wildflowers, helping add plenty of color to your yard. The USA-grown and -sourced flowers include marigolds, daisies, cosmos and more.

Willard and May Flower Bulb Garden

With 75 bulbs, this gardening pack delivers annual color through summer and fall. Varieties include gladiolus, stargazer lilies, calla lilies and more.

Van Zyverden Pacific Ocean Dahlias

These vibrant dahlias shade from yellow to dark pink. They grow up to 36 inches tall and boast 3.5-inch blooms. Note your growing zone when planting dahlias: In colder regions, it's recommended to dig up and store the tubers indoors after first frost.

Burpee Organics Gourmet Blend Lettuce Seeds

Sow these seeds throughout the season to enjoy a mix of fresh salad greens every few weeks. Each seed packet includes 1,100 seeds in a blend of five leaf lettuce varieties.

Botanical Interests Non-GMO Veggie Seed Collection

Plant the cold-hardy veggies in this organic collection, such as radishes and sugar snap peas, in April and save the others for warmer conditions. The packets are clearly labeled to help you grow these veggies successfully.

Best garden tools for spring planting

Luster Leaf Rapitest Soil Test Kit

Learn everything you need to know about your soil's pH levels and nutrient content with this at-home kit. It uses an easy capsule system to evaluate nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium levels.

Truper Tru Pro Spading Fork

This lightweight yet effective spading fork helps prepare soil for fresh crops by thoroughly turning and mixing it to incorporate compost or fertilizer. Its 30-inch fiberglass handle has a D-grip for better control.

FiveJoy 11-Piece Garden Tool Set

Made from rust-resistant cast aluminum, these hand tools are durable and feature comfortable ergonomic grips. The set includes gardening gloves, pruning snips, two trowels and more, all stored in an Oxford cloth tote.

Picnic at Ascot Tool Tote

Easily carry your tools and seeds in this 600-denier canvas tote. It comes with three stainless steel hand tools and features five exterior pockets. Made from high-quality, heavy-duty canvas, this tote comes with a lifetime warranty.

Planket Frost Protection Plant Cover

Shelter your new plants from surprise winter weather with this 10-by-20-foot cover. Built-in grommets provide anchor points to stake the cover into the ground.

Prices listed reflect time and date of publication and are subject to change.

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