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What to Plant in April for Each USDA Plant Zone

April can be a busy month for many gardeners. But of course, what you do in your April garden will depend on where you live. One of the most challenging things for any new gardener is working out what to sow and plant. And when! 

So, where exactly do you begin with your April sowing schedule? As a garden designer and gardening consultant – I get more inquiries about sowing and planting timings in a garden than anything else. So if you are a little confused, you are not alone. 

Your USDA planting zone won’t tell you everything you need to know to decide what to plant in April where you live. But it can give you a place to start. 

What to Plant in April for Each USDA Plant Zone

Here are some suggestions of vegetables to sow and plant this month:

  • Zones 1-4: Sow hardy cabbage family plants, lettuce, and other leafy greens indoors. In zones 3-4, you might also sow beets, carrots, onions, peas, fava beans, and radishes indoors or covered to plant out after your last frost date. 
  • Zones 5-6: Sow summer crops indoors, including tomatoes, peppers, squash, green beans, etc., if you have not done so already. Direct sow or plant out hardy crops like cabbage family plants, fava beans, peas, and root crops outdoors (with cloche protection where necessary). But hold off transplanting more tender crops until after the last frost date in your area. 
  • Zones 7-8: Direct sow hardy crops like peas successionally for a prolonged harvesting period. Direct sow or plant out summer crops like tomatoes, peppers, squash, and beans towards the end of the month. 
  • Zones 9-10: Plant tomatoes, peppers, squash sowed indoors by early April at the latest. Succession sow crops like carrots and peas (and continue to do so until around mid-summer.)

But remember that these suggestions are only broad guidelines! You should always plant and sow while considering the conditions of a particular year and in your local garden. 

Study your hardiness zone and your cultivar to determine the best germination and sowing schedule.

nutritious root vegetables new england gardening
Carrots and other root vegetables are perfect for planting around mid-April. You can plant carrots when the soil is above freezing. (Around forty degrees Fahrenheit.) But – they will grow faster when the soil warms.

April Planting Schedule for Each USDA Planting Zone

  • Zones 1-4: Start spring crops indoors.
  • Zones 5-6: Sow indoors. Plant out spring crops with protection after your last frost date.
  • Zones 7-8: Start sowing/planting summer crops outdoors as the weather warms. 
  • Zones 9-10: You have time to sow some summer crops early this month.

Should I Plant in April?

That depends on your location – and your crop!

Your USDA Planting Zone will tell you about the winter temperatures you should expect in your area. But remember, it won’t tell you what you should grow. Nor will it always be the best guide for when you should plant. 

If you want to understand what you should plant in April in your garden, one skill is more important than any other as a new gardener: observation. When starting a new vegetable garden, honing your observational skills is the most important thing to do. 

Look not only at the climate in your location. Also, consider the micro-climate – the sunlight, wind, water, and soil. Remember all other features of the natural world around you.

By doing so, you will get a range of handy clues about what to plant – and when!

Timing is hugely important in the gardening world. Endless articles like this one suggest rough timings for sowing in the gardening year. But there is no substitute for actually having eyes on the ground. 

So I can tell you that as a general rule, April is too early to sow outdoors in the colder climate zones. But, I can tell you that you should consider April a prime time to plant outdoors in many warmer zones

Pay attention and use your common sense. Consider the specifics of your particular garden and the weather in a given year when making your decisions.

Read More – Growing Jalapeño Peppers in Containers, Pots, and Buckets!

What Seeds Can I Sow in April?

green cabbages growing in vegetable garden
Cabbage is one of our favorite cool-weather crops that can handle temperatures as low as fifteen degrees Fahrenheit! They love cool weather around 65 degrees. You can start cabbage seeds indoors in early or mid-April for a May planting.

As a new gardener, it can be helpful to get some rough guidelines to help you get started. The good news is that April is the perfect time for sowing many seeds, no matter which climate zone you inhabit. 

First of all, don’t ask what seeds you can sow in AprilAsk instead where you should plant them. Here’s what I mean.

Can I Sow Seeds Outside in April?

If you live in a colder climate zone, the weather in April will often still be too chilly to sow seeds outdoors. But there are plenty of veggie seeds that you should germinate indoors or undercover this month.

Especially when you have a shorter growing season, it is vital to get started with germinating seeds as early as possible indoors. Often it’s best to sprout seeds indoors before you can consider direct sowing seeds or placing plants outdoors in your garden.

Most cultivars recommend germinating indoors a few weeks before the final frost date. But – it’s wise to consult each cultivar variety individually for the best results.

Even if you’re growing a frost-sensitive crop like cherry tomatoes, you can begin growing them indoors before transplanting them outdoors in the warmer months.

Is it Too Late to Plant Seeds in April?

If you live in a warmer climate zone, the weather in April may already have begun to heat up considerably. In the highest USDA Planting Zones, it may already feel like summer.

In zones 7 & 8, April is often a prime planting time for spring crops, but in zones 9 & 10, you will have planted these much earlier. So – in zones 9 & 10, you will turn your attention to sowing key summer crops. 

If you have not already sown or planted for your summer garden in zones 9 & 10, there is (usually) still time to sow and transplant in the first part of this month. But this is your last opportunity for a successful summer garden. 

Can You Plant Flower Seeds in April?

When planning a vegetable garden, you should consider sowing and planting flowers as companion plants. Creating polycultures is a great food-growing strategy. 

In zones seven and above, some great flower seeds to sow outdoors in April for companion planting include borage, calendula, marigolds, nasturtiums, and sweet alyssum.

In cooler climate zones, these and other companion plants can often be sown indoors or undercover in April to plant out after all risk of frost has passed and the weather has begun to warm. 

What is the Best Thing to Plant in April?

female farmer and tomato transplants organic garden
Tomatoes are one of the most rewarding and delicious crops for all homesteaders! But if you live in a cool growing zone? Then we recommend starting your tomato transplants indoors around April.

When deciding what to plant in April, you should consider the environmental conditions where you live! Also, weigh your experience level and the method or methods you have chosen to employ in your garden.

In most cases – it’s okay to begin growing vegetables after the final day of frost. However, some cold-hardy vegetables survive light frosts.

Even if you’re growing a frost-sensitive crop like cherry tomatoes, you can begin growing them indoors before transplanting them outdoors in the warmer months.

Below is a list of our favorite vegetables perfect for late spring or early summer planting.

  1. Roma VF Tomato Seeds | Eden Brothers
  2. Roma VF Tomato Seeds | Eden Brothers

    Roma tomatoes are one of our favorite tomato cultivars for delicious tomato sauce! Start them indoors a month before the final frost. They're straightforward to grow. Roma VF tomatoes are also resistant to fusarium wilt and verticillium wilt. Both of which can wreak havoc on tomato crops.

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  3. Dinosaur Kale Seeds | True Leaf Market
  4. Dinosaur Kale Seeds | True Leaf Market

    Dinosaur kale tastes delicious and looks like a jungle crop! It develops into a greenish-blue leaf with a unique embossed texture. You can sow seeds directly outdoors during early spring or begin germinating inside three weeks before the final frost.

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  5. Hollow Crown Parsnip Seeds | True Leaf Market
  6. Hollow Crown Parsnip Seeds | True Leaf Market

    We love hollow crown parsnips because they are straightforward to store - and they're also massive! They grow up to 15-inches. They have loads of healthy antioxidants plus vitamins C and A. Just a word of warning - parsnip seeds take around three weeks to germinate - so don't panic if they are slow to sprout!

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  7. Red Burgundy Onion Seeds | Eden Brothers
  8. Red Burgundy Onion Seeds | Eden Brothers

    Red Burgundy onions are the best slicing onions for big fat juicy burgers, turkey sandwiches, salads, and fresh garden stir fry. They're also low-maintenance and straightforward to grow for new gardeners. You can start these onion seeds indoors and transplant them after reaching five inches tall.

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  9. Rainbow Blend Carrot Seeds | Eden Brothers
  10. Rainbow Blend Carrot Seeds | Eden Brothers

    We love this colorful carrot collection for carrot fans, juicing lovers, and bunnies! 🙂 You can grow either full-sized carrots or baby carrots. Perfect for adding beautiful colors to stir-fries, salads, rice, and bean dishes. Plant these carrot seeds around four weeks before the final frost.

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  11. Buttercrunch Lettuce Seeds | Eden Brothers
  12. Buttercrunch Lettuce Seeds | Eden Brothers

    Buttercrunch lettuce is a cool-season crop perfect for salads and sandwiches. The best thing about buttercrunch lettuce is that you can grow them anywhere. Most lettuce cultivars don't like warm weather. But, buttercrunch is more tolerant. You can direct sow the seeds anywhere from early spring to fall.

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  13. Chioggia Beet Garden Seeds | True Leaf Market
  14. Chioggia Beet Garden Seeds | True Leaf Market

    Chioggia beets are our favorite cultivar. They're a classic Italian heirloom known for a tremendously clean treat perfect for garnishes, pickling, storing, and garden salads. They germinate in around five to ten days, and we recommend direct sowing them! Beets are famously bad at transplanting.

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  15. Golden Acre Cabbage Seeds | True Leaf Market
  16. Golden Acre Cabbage Seeds | True Leaf Market

    Golden acre cabbage is the best! It produces large cabbage heads roughly five to seven inches in diameter. They're ready for harvesting around 65 days. You can sow golden acre cabbage directly in the soil. But - if the weather is too cold, consider germinating them indoors.

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What Can I Plant in April for Beginners?

Above, we’ve mentioned some of the most common crops and a few companion plants to plant in April. All are relatively easy to sow and grow – even if you have never gardened before. 

However, it is also important to remember that you might also be able to sow not only these annuals/ biennials but also a range of trees, shrubs, and other edible perennial plants

Perennials, plants that return or remain year after year in your garden, can be great low-maintenance choices for new gardeners. They are often among the easiest things to grow.

So, these are also some of the best things to plant in April. Consider creating a forest garden, for example. 

April might be perfect for planting fruit trees or fruiting shrubs in cooler climate zones where the ground has thawed from winter. Fruiting shrubs are great value plants for your garden! Strawberry plants are also excellent April crops.

Read More – How to Grow Sugar Snap Peas – From Seed to Harvest!

What Can I Plant in Pots in April?

Planting in pots gives flexibility! You can grow in raised beds or the ground. You can grow annuals or a breathtaking perennial garden. Or, construct a container garden – perfect for small spaces. 

The great news is that all of the plants mentioned above can be grown in pots. They work well in containers. Not only when you sow indoors before transplanting but also when growing in pots long term. 

Just remember that plants will be more vulnerable to cold and more prone to drying out. So take this into account when deciding when to sow or plant the vegetables, flowers, and other plants you choose. 

Remember that gardening is never one size fits all. But as long as you keep guidelines in mind and are observant and adaptive, you should be able to hone your timings and succeed in your garden no matter where you live. 

So don’t be afraid to give gardening a go. Even if you get it wrong when deciding what to plant in April, each minor error is just a step forward on your learning journey. You can learn from each mistake and become a better gardener over time.

Conclusion

After a long winter, homesteaders from all over the US are ready for an early April planting!

We hope that our article helped decide which April crops might work for your local garden.

If you have more April gardening questions, feel free to ask!

We think about gardening nonstop and love hearing from you.

Thanks again for reading.

Please have a great day!

Read More – How to Grow Black Beans – Your Complete Growing Guide!

Author

  • Elizabeth Waddington is a permaculture designer, consultant, and writer. She has been a keen gardener for many years and has a 1/3 acre garden with a food forest, rescue chickens, wildlife-friendly woodland garden and pond, polytunnel, and vegetable beds. As well as working to grow her own food at home, she also helps others around the world on their journey towards a more sustainable way of life through her design and consultancy work, and through writing articles about organic gardening and sustainability.