April on the homestead means the lilacs are just starting to open up, our fruit trees are flowering and there is enough weeding to keep an small army busy. Here are some things on my homesteading to do list this month:
- Weed, weed, weed!
- Propagate woody perennials
- Transplant groundcovers and small perennials
- Direct sow vegetables
- Keep the raised beds watered
- Restock indoor homestead supplies
An hour weeding in the spring will save you days of weeding this summer. The ground is still soft enough to tug them out easily and you can get ahead of them since it’s still too early for them to produce seed heads.
Propagating perennials with woody stems, like rosemary and lavender, is easiest in the cool months of spring. The weather is mild and regular rainfall keeps them well-watered. All of this adds up to gentle conditions for new plants to get established. I use usually dip cuttings in water, then in powdered rooting hormone before planting them in good soil.
These cool spring days will also be easy on newly transplanted groundcovers and perennials. Our raspberry and strawberries are always trying to produce new plants. To help with crowding, I am digging up the new starts and moving them to emptier holes in the garden. They should still have time to get established before setting fruit in a couple months.
In Portland, we can now direct sow all kinds of great vegetables outside: arugula, beets, broccoli, carrots, cilantro, lettuce, scarlet runner beans and spinach. Keep a close eye on the weather. Some days I need to water these newly planted seeds and other days spring rain will do the job for me.
Half of our raised beds are covered with greenhouse plastic to jump start growth. That means I need to water these beds a couple times of a week, since they won’t get rainwater. After a month of coverage, most of our cut-and-come-again crops like lettuces, arugula and chard are ready for harvesting.
Spring is the last chance I’ll have for many months to get caught up on indoor homestead projects. The harvest basket is manageable and there are no buckets of produce to preserve. It’s a great time to stock up on homemade laundry detergent using a recipe from my book, DIY baby care supplies and other practical things.
What is keeping your homestead busy this month? I would love to hear about your projects, both big and small, in the comments below!