As spring settles in, it’s time to turn your attention to your urban homestead and garden. For those residing in zones 6a, 6b, 7a, and 7b, April marks the start of a busy gardening season. With a little planning and elbow grease, you can ensure your homestead and garden are productive and beautiful all season long. From sowing seeds to maintaining your compost pile, there are plenty of essential tasks to tackle this month. In this article, we’ll cover some of the key April garden and urban homestead chores to help you make the most of this exciting time of year.
Let’s start with some gardening and homesteading checklists and then move on to resources to help you get the most out of your urban homestead and garden.
April Urban Homestead and Garden Chore Checklist
- Prepare your soil – Remove any weeds and debris from your garden beds and add a layer of compost or organic matter to improve soil health. If you have left last years seeds and leaves to sustain wildlife now is the time to clean it all out
- Plant cool-season crops – April is the perfect time to sow seeds for cool-season vegetables such as peas, lettuce, and spinach. If you live in the mountains consider row covers to assist with late frosts. No matter how warm it gets and how much you want to plant those tomatoes outside… DON’T. You will regret it.
- Start fast growing warm weather crops – If you have managed to hold out this long, it is finally time to start your fast growing warm-weather vegetables like squash and cucumbers. They only need 4-6 weeks to be ready to plant out (Just in time for Mother’s Day!)
- Prune fruit trees and shrubs – Prune any dead or damaged branches from your fruit trees and shrubs to promote healthy growth and a bountiful harvest. Be careful not to prune out limbs or remove plants that haven’t leafed out yet. Some species like figs and paw paws leaf out much later.
- Divide and transplant perennials – Divide and transplant overcrowded perennial plants like day lilies, hostas, and irises.
- Clean garden tools – Clean and sharpen garden tools to ensure they’re ready for use. If you are anything like us, its also a good time to sort out that piled up garden shed or greenhouse.
- Install birdhouses and feeders – Set up birdhouses and feeders to attract beneficial birds to your garden.
Urban Homestead Checklist:
- Maintain your compost pile – Keep your compost pile well-maintained by adding a balance of “green” (nitrogen-rich) and “brown” (carbon-rich) materials and turning it regularly to ensure proper decomposition. If it has been sitting all winter this is a great time to get it stirred back up and finished off in time for planting in May.
- Check on your bees – If you’re keeping bees, now is the time to check on your hive and make sure your bees have enough food and space to thrive. We aren’t bee keepers but we suggest taking a class from Oxx Beekeeping (often at Organic Growers School) and reading more here.
- Clean your coop – If you’re raising chickens or quail, be sure to clean out their coop and nesting boxes to keep them healthy and happy. We like to take down window covers, do a full clean out of the run/coop, and inspect for any pests at the end of April to give them chickens and quail a nice healthy place for the summer months.
- Purchase and Brood Chicks or Hatching Eggs – This is the time that eggs and chicks are plentiful. You will find chicks for sale at local feed and seed stores, on craigslist, and on mail order. Its a little late to order chicks, but you can find some hatcheries that ship throughout May OR start prepping your list for fall orders. Hatching eggs can be found on facebook groups, craigslist, and Ebay, just note that hatch rates are lower after eggs have been bounced through the mail.
- Inspect and Repair Fencing – This is the time of year where your small livestock want to get out and graze and your predators are waking up and looking for food. Make sure fencing is secure and undamaged as all animals start roaming further from dens and coops.
- Inspect irrigation and Rain Barrels – Review your irrigation/collection system and make any necessary repairs or adjustments. Specifically look for freeze/thaw damage at taps and connectors
- Clean Tools and Outdoor Areas – It will finally be warm enough to start really gardening, lounging outside, and making use of your outdoor areas. Prep for warmer weather by cleaning hammocks, outdoor furniture, and tools. It will make the most of warm days without giving you the latitude to plant those warm weather starts too early!
- Clean out jars and review the pantry – Make plans for what you want to preserve this year, what you ran out of, and what canned goods you still have left over. Adjust your planting plans accordingly so you don’t end up with those 15 extra cans of pickled okra this year.
Resource List for April
- PRINTABLE PDF of This Checklist
- When to plant: Reaganskopp Planting Calculator: See when to start seeds indoors, outdoors, and for succession planting. All you need is to know your average last frost date
- Which Chickens to Get: Use our years of chicken owning experience to pick out the perfect chicken breeds for an Urban Homestead.
- How to Use Incubators: We have a few guides on our YouTube Channel
- Garden Tool Maintenance: We are using this great guide from EcoGardener to get all our tools back in shape this year.
April is a busy month for urban homesteaders and gardeners in zones 6a, 6b, 7a, and 7b. From preparing soil for planting to starting seedlings indoors, there are plenty of tasks to tackle to ensure a successful growing season. Other essential chores include planting cool-season crops, mulching garden beds, watering plants, and harvesting early crops. It’s also important to monitor for pests, prune fruit trees, and maintain compost piles and garden tools. With proper planning and care, you can set up your urban homestead for success and enjoy the bounties of a thriving garden throughout the season.
Remember, gardening and homesteading is a process and it’s important to take it one step at a time. Don’t feel overwhelmed by this list – just focus on the tasks that are most important for your garden and take the time to enjoy the process. With a little effort and attention, you can create a beautiful and productive garden that will bring you joy throughout the growing season.