Gardening/Orchids

GARDENING TIPS – April

These tips are general, based on my garden in Zone 7. Your climate needs may vary based on temps/length of day. Be sure to check the advice of your  local extension office .
  • Be sure to watch the nighttime temps – we can still get a snap freeze that can damage tender plants. Bring them in or cover them up if freezing temps threaten.
  • VEGGIES/HERBS
  • Zone 7 – Basil, cucumbers, squash, melon, peppers, eggplant, sweet corn, dill, tomatoes, beans (snap and pole), lettuce, radish. Hold the tomatoes and peppers until late in the month.
  • Plant corn in several short row to aid in pollination.
  • Plant mint and other aggressive herbs in containers so they don’t take over your garden.
  • Divide your garden into 3rds  and practice crop rotation, not planting the same veggie in the same quad  for at least 3 years.
  • Watch out for tent caterpillars in cherries, crabapples and plums. When the caterpillars are small (less than 1″ long), you can spray with an organic product such as Thuricide Monterey’s Garden Insect Spray. These products are only toxic to caterpillars. If you wait until the caterpillars are longer than 1″, however, you will need to spray with Sevin.
  • You can still take in a soil sample to your  local extension office to see if your garden needs any amending. Most state extension offices and many garden centers offer this service free.
  • Mix organic matter (cow manure, peat moss, compost, as well as lime and vegetable food) into your vegetable garden.
  • Do NOT spade or till the vegetable garden while it is wet. This will compact the soil and make it hard to work and hard for the vegetables to grow.
  • FRUIT
  • This is a great time to plant fruit trees, berry plants and grapes. Be sure to plant them in full sun.
  • Raspberry plants. Cut out the dead canes.  Thin to 5 canes per foot of row to prevent overcrowding
  • After all danger of frost is past, uncover the strawberry beds and keep them well watered.
  • Fruit trees should be on a regular spray program.
  • TREES/SHRUBS
  • Prune forsythia, spirea and other spring flowering shrubs right after they finish blooming.
  • PERENNIALS, ANNUALS and BULBS
  • Color is everywhere this month! April bloomers include azaleas, rhododendrons, dogwoods, redbuds and magnolias.
  • Plant annual seeds of asters, cosmos, marigolds, zinnias in the garden.
  • Other great landscape plants now include flowering almond, camellia, daphne, forsythia, pussywillow, weigela, Harry Lauder’s walking stick and spirea.
  • Deadhead your spring bulbs after they finish blooming. Do not cut the green foliage back, they need to continue to grow to provide food for next year’s blooms.
  • Perennials like Daylilies, Iris, Daisies can be divides now to add to new areas or to share/trade with friends.
  •  Strawflower, statice, celosia, and globe amaranth can be planted now to use as dried arrangements this fall/winter.
  • Scatter annual poppy seeds in the garden. They will grow rapidly and provide beautiful flowers in early summer.
  • Nasturium seeds can be planted in a sunny location with poor soil.
  • Prune roses and cut back liriope and ornamental grasses before new growth begins.
  • POOL/POND
  • You can plant your aquatic plants for pool or pond anytime after the middle of the month.
  • If you have a pond in your landscape, begin feeding your fish when water temperatures are above 50 degrees. You can prevent algae in your pond with floating barley bales.
  • HOUSEPLANTS
  • Rotate your houseplants for even growth.
  • As the weather warms, you can begin moving your full sun plants outside. Be sure to gradually move them into full sun so they don’t burn.
  • Pinch the tips of foliage plants to stimulate new growth and give you a bushier plant
  • Feed houseplants with a good quality indoor plant food.
  • Now is an excellent time to repot rootbound plants into a larger pot.
  • Check the leaves of your houseplants for insect or disease problems. Your county agent or lawn care specialist can help diagnose any problems.
  • LAWNCARE
  • f needed, lime the lawn to raise soil pH. Lawns prefer a pH range of 6.2 – 6.8.
  • Be sure the mower blades are sharp to prevent tearing the grass. Set the blade and 2-1/2″ or higher. Never remove more than 1/3 of the leaf blade at a mowing.
  • Remove sticks, rocks and other junk from your lawn to prevent damage to your mower.
  • Use a summer pre-emergent to help with weed containment.
  • MISCELLANEOUS
  • Arbor Day  (last Friday in April) – Plant a Tree
  • Be sure to water all transplants during dry spells.
  • Birdfeeders (seed and hummingbird nectar) will attract insect-eating helpers.

what are your gardening tips for the lovely month of April?

Have a green day.. Ellen

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