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April

Keep on top of your leaves by raking them up so they don’t turn to sludge on drive ways and smoother ground cover plants. Add these leaves straight to your compost. Or stockpile them with other green waste to compost at a later date.

Not all leaves should go into your compost. Any leaves that are infected should be discarded with waste and all tools that came into contact with them should be cleaned. Also, some trees, like black walnuts, have toxins in their fallen leaves called hydrojuglone that can cause other plants to turn yellow, wilt and die. English walnut, hickory and pecan trees also produce small amounts of hydrojuglone. The leaves from these trees should also be discarded of – don’t put them in your compost.

Get all your winter seedlings in the ground while the soil is still warm enough to give them a good kick start – if the soil is too cold they will take even longer to grow. If you find you're starting to mow the lawns more regularly again after summer, it's a sure sign the soil temperature is still warm but there's now some moisture in it too.

Broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, leeks, lettuce, silverbeet and spinach should all be planted this month. If you have a problem with white butterfly, cover your seedlings with a cloche or bird netting. Make sure the cloche/netting is back from the plants so the butterflies can’t touch the plants and lay their eggs.

Harvest pumpkins, potatoes and onions, and store in a cool dry place.

Replant your summer annuals with winter annuals. Pull out the plants, dig over your soil and replace them with geranium, primula, polyanthus, cineraria and pansy.

Like with your vegetables, if you get your winter annuals in now while the soil is warm they'll get growing quickly and continue growing right over winter.

If your soil gets wet and soggy during winter, add some lime, and if it's quite free draining but hard, add some gypsum to break it up. Give the soil an extra boost by adding some compost. Want to make your own? Click here to find out how.

Once your seedlings are planted be sure to mulch around them. Spread peastraw and bark mulch to protect your plants from the cold. The bark mulch will also make it tougher for snails and slugs to get to all your seedlings.

Remember to move any potted plants that might be susceptible to frost to a warmer spot.

April is also a good time to prune your shrubs now that they've finished flowering so they're nice and tidy before the weather gets cold and wet. And give your roses a light pruning before winter - simply take off any dead flower heads.

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