Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt'

Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt'

Thursday, April 7, 2016

What to Plant in the April Veggie Garden

Good morning gardeners!

April heralds a bright beginning to the gardening season in Portland. In the past two months I have taught a dozen gardening workshops around the Portland area and met close over 100 enthusiastic gardening students. If you have joined me in a gardening workshop, thank you!

Spring fever is upon us and perhaps you have planted some crops already and perhaps you are itching to get started. In April we are still planting cool season crops. In spite of the 60-70 day time temperatures, it is still too cold to plant your warm season summer crops!! Please no tomatoes or basil yet. Today's 85 degree temperatures were a one-day spring rarity.

Here's what to plant now:

Asian greens
Beets-great time to plant seeds in April
Brussels sprouts (plant in spring for a fall harvest)
Carrots-great time to plant seeds in April
Mustard Greens
Parsnips (plant now for a fall harvest)
Peas-don't like heat so get them in by the end of april
Salad greens-arugula, cress, endive, ecarole, mache
Swiss Chard

Continue planting artichokes, rhubarb, potatoes, leeks, onions, shallots, garlic in April.

Runner beans are the only type of bean that can be planted early. Plant some seeds now in April, like scarlet or sunset runner. They make beautiful ornamental plants grown up a trellis as a vine hummingbirds will love. Harvest the pods while very young and small for fresh green beans. Or wait until pods are large and dry out for shelling/dry beans.

Herbs-plant cool season annual herbs like cilantro and chervil. Plant all perennial herbs now. Plant hardier annual herbs like dill and german chamomile. Wait on tender warm-season annual herbs like basil and shiso until May.

Fruit-keep planting strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and fruit trees through April.

WAIT until mid to late May when night temperatures are consistently above 55 degrees to plant warm season crops like: beans, celery, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, gourds, melons, okra, peppers, pumpkins, summer squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, tomatillos, winter squash, and zucchini. Seriously, just wait until later in May. Planting now risks stunting or outright killing these plants.

In April annual bedding plants become available at nurseries. Don't forget to interplant your veggie garden with annual flowers and herbs as companion plants for beneficial bugs. Some of my favorites: alyssum, calendula, cosmos,m marigolds, nasturtium, and sunflowers.

Thank you for reading my blog and I am happy to receive your gardening questions here in a comment. Please contact me at if you are interested in scheduling an in-person or email edible gardening consultation. Happy gardening and happy April!

Warmly, Jolie

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