Days of warm, hazy sunshine with a fresh autumn tang. Leaves turning colors. The first frost is on its way. Birds taking leave for the North. This is April in the southern hemisphere.
Apples and grapes may still be on the tree and vine at the start of April, but by month’s end, much of the harvest will be complete. April is the month to bring in the last of the summer crops from the vegetable garden, and now is the time to plant cool-weather vegetables for late winter harvest.
April was the second month of the year in early Roman times. Julius Caesar changed all that in 46 B.C. when he made April the fourth month. Pope Gregory XIII changed the Julian calendar in 1582. It turns out that Julius Caesar’s calendar was 11 minutes and 14 seconds longer than the solar calendar. Pope Gregory’s new calendar rectified Julius’ mistake which had added 10 days to the year by the start of the 1600s.
Before the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, the New Year celebration began on March 21 and ended on April 1. Pope Gregory’s new calendar moved New Year’s Day to January 1. Those who persisted in celebrating the new year in April came to be known as April fools. In short, order, playing absurd and harmless jokes became a practice on April 1, April Fools’ Day.
April planting in the Southern Hemisphere
Here is a list by region of vegetables and herbs to be planted in the Southern Hemisphere during April:
Temperate regions: Vegetables: artichoke crowns, broad beans, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, cress, leeks, lettuce, mustard, onions, spring onions, peas, radish, shallots, spinach, strawberry runners, turnips. Herbs: angelica, caraway, chervil, chives, coriander, dill, lemon balm, marjoram, oregano, salad Burnett, and thyme.
Tropical and sub-tropical northern regions: Vegetables: beans, beetroot, broad beans, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, Chinese cabbage, cress, endive, lettuce, marrow, mustard, onions, spring onions, parsnip, peas, potatoes, radish, rhubarb crown, rutabaga (Swede), shallots, silverbeet (Swiss chard), spinach, spring onion, strawberry runners, tomato, turnip. Herbs: angelica, borage, caraway, celeriac, chervil, chives, coriander, dill, lemon balm, marjoram, oregano, parsley, salad burnet, thyme.
Cooler southern regions: Vegetables: broad beans, cress, lettuce, onions, spring onions, radish, shallots, spinach, strawberry runners. Herbs: caraway, salad burnet.
April harvest in the Southern Hemisphere
Here is a roundup of vegetables and fruits ready for harvest during April in the Southern Hemisphere:
Vegetables: beans, capsicum, carrots, celeriac, chilies, Chinese cabbage, corn, cucumber, eggplant, kale, lettuce, melons, okra, peas, pumpkins, purslane, rutabaga (Swede), snow peas, spinach, summer squash, tomato, turnips, zucchini.
Fruits and nuts: almonds, apples, avocadoes, brambleberries, grapes, figs, hazelnuts/filberts, kumquat, lemons, melons, mulberries, nectarines, oranges, passionfruit, banana passionfruit, peaches, pears, pecans, plums, raspberries, strawberries, tamarillos.