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April Tasks for the Colorado Gardener

Updated: Nov 29, 2023

April Tasks for the Colorado Gardener

April is one of my favorite months in Colorado. The accumulated snow is starting to recede, giving way to budding life. Storms are turning from flurries to showers. Everywhere you look, signs of life are emerging. Trees are budding; grasses are growing, bugs are a buzzing. And those empty garden beds begin beckoning with the promise of bounty to come. With warmer days on the horizon, it’s time for the Colorado Gardener April task list!

Before diving into this list, be sure to check out our March Tasks for the Colorado Gardener and February Tasks for the Colorado Gardener posts to make sure you’re all caught up!

Garden Clean-Up and Prep

For most Colorado gardeners, some point in April will be the first time the snow recedes enough to give you the first glimpse of your garden plot. If you didn’t finish the task before snowfall, now is the time to prepare the garden for planting season.

  • Rake leaves and debris Clean up any debris from around trees, shrubs, and garden paths. (Be sure to save any organic matter to use as mulch or add to the compost pile.)

  • Build or rebuild infrastructure. Take stock of your garden to determine if any beds need building or rebuilding. Also, inspect trellises and fencing for any areas that didn’t weather the heavy snow well.

  • Test Your Soil Test your soil to see what nutrients may need to be replenished, or amendments may be required. This should be done yearly, as the soil is a living thing whose needs change over time.

  • Amend Your Soil Add any necessary amendments to garden beds as early as possible so they can get to work before planting gets underway.

  • Prune back fruit trees and berry bushes before new growth starts and remove any damaged or broken branches or canes.

Soil Amendments

Turn the Compost Pile

Chances are high that April will be the first time the snow has melted enough to find your compost pile again, so now is the time to get back to a schedule of regular turning. Alternatively, if you don’t already have a compost pile you can get one started now.

Look to Rain Catchment

As one of the unlucky ones whose well went dry last year, this is going to be one of our biggest projects. We’re all familiar with the colloquialism “April showers bring May flowers” if you don’t already have a rain catchment system in place on your property, consider getting ahead of the April rains by installing a system now. If you already have rain catchment in place, now is the time to inspect that the system is in good working order and ready to receive any rainfall we get. Do however keep in mind that there are Colorado restrictions on the amount of rainwater that you are allowed to collect.

Get to Planting
  • Cool Weather Crops If you haven’t already done so, cool-weather crops can be started indoors now. This includes broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, leeks, and lettuce.

  • Direct Sow You can start to direct sow cold hardy crops such as lettuce, chard, spinach, kale, beets, carrots, radishes, parsnips, kohlrabi, turnips, and onion sets as soon as your ground is workable.

  • Warm Weather Crops Now is the time to get seedlings started for your warm-weather crops such as tomatoes, zucchini, pumpkins, and peppers.

Be sure that if you are direct sowing even with cold weather crops you are prepared with plastic sheeting or covers just in case we get unexpected snow or hard freezes late in the season. Remember that the last frost date (for Durango) is June 1st. So be prepared to take action if need be. Cold weather crops will tolerate frost, but not a lot, especially in the tender seedling stage.

How to start plants from seed ad

Flower Beds
  • Divide Perennials Divide any perennials that have overgrown their allotments. You can store bulbs in pots until you’re ready to transplant. Extra bulbs also make great gifts for friends and neighbors if you’ve run out of planting space!

  • Annuals Start planting early annuals that are cold hardy such as pansies earlier in the month and flowers, such as snapdragons and sweet alyssum, later in in the month.

  • Wildflowers Now is a great time to spread wildflowers that pollinators love.

Pest Control Prep
  • Yellowjackets Hang pheromone traps early to capture emerging yellowjacket populations. If you trap a queen early, you prevent can prevent a nest from forming.

  • Garden Pests I love a good chemical-free pest control. As far as natural goes there is no better solution to bad bugs than good birds. Surround your garden with birdhouses to create a haven for local birds. This turns your garden into a hunting ground allowing your wild flock to decimate bugs without ever needing any form of pesticide.

We’re Almost There

The 2023 gardening season is just about to burst forth into the hustle and bustle of plant, harvest, process, repeat! And, I don’t know about you, but we could not be more excited for this season. Our 2,400-square-foot garden is getting a full makeover this year and we have all kinds of new crop varieties emerging as seedlings as we speak. How about you? What are you most excited about this gardening season? Tell us all about it in the comments below, and as always, until next time,

April Tasks for the Colorado Gardener 2

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