In our peninsula there are considerable climatic differences: for this reason it is difficult to give general information on the work to be done. In the northern mountain areas most of the crops are about 50 days later than in Sicily. Among these extremes is the Po Valley and the coastal areas of Central Italy. We can say that in the southern and coastal regions many crops in the open field were certainly started in March and must therefore be maintained.
In the inland and northern areas, however, it is time for outdoor plants. Almost everywhere, however, depending on the vegetables, you have to pay attention to the minimum temperatures reached during the night: if there were sharp falls is recommended to provide protection (geotextile sheets) or tunnels, remembering to ventilate often during the day.
Let’s get to work a few days after the last rains: we’ll work more easily and avoid compacting heavy soils. In general, spades should be done in autumn, but we can also proceed now, paying particular attention to the surface layers: they should be hoeed or milled very finely, especially if we want to insert delicate plants or sow plants with very fine grains (carrots, lettuce).
It is also the right time for a good cover fertilization: the granular products with slow release are ideal: we distribute the doses indicated for the individual crops of the garden that we have planned.
We recommend, if possible, to set up an irrigation system and a mulch with plastic sheets: we will reduce the weeding and water requirements. Otherwise we will already make the furrows where the water will be channelled.
Sowing and planting
During this period, sowing can be carried out indoors or directly at home.
In the greenhouse the most suitable are watermelon, cucumber, melon, pumpkin and zucchini. In the middle of the earth, however, you can start in the first part of the month, with chard, carrots, summer cabbage, red onions, lettuce, leeks and summer spinach. Towards the end of the month, however, we will go to more thermophilic vegetables such as green beans and beans, cucumbers, melon, pumpkin, zucchini and tomato.
April is also the month suitable for planting seedlings with earthen bread, sown by us or purchased from nurseries. In tunnels, watermelons, cucumbers, courgettes, melons, aubergines, peppers and tomatoes grow well everywhere. In the open field at the beginning of the month we insert instead basil, cucumber and lettuce. From 15 onwards, the inclusion of aubergines, courgettes, tomatoes, pumpkins and celery should no longer be a problem.
Work in the garden in April: Other work, pests and diseases
In April, it is important to focus on irrigation, in the event of drought, and weed control. In the first case remember to distribute water in the right measure to avoid stress, but also the onset of rottenness.
Weeds should be removed regularly on open ground with light hoeing: however, we must avoid damaging recently inserted seedlings.
It is essential to start the fight against diseases immediately. Some of them can be prevented by frequent crop rotations and the use of resistant varieties.
For others it is good to prevent: let’s avoid wetting the leaves, promptly eliminate the damaged ones and the basal ones (in contact with the ground). We regularly distribute covering products such as sulphur and copper. For insects we can rely on pyrethroids (low deficiency), pyrethrins or the frequent application of macerates. In this respect, let’s not forget to put into practice the right associations.
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