April is my favorite month, and you probably know why. Spring has sprung and bulbs are showing their beautiful blooms. This is a great time of year as the garden is nearly ready to be planted and enjoyed for months to come.
Exercising is Important Since we have been inside most of the winter with little activity it is important to get ready for bending and kneeling. Exercising before outside gardening is the best way to avoid those aches and pains.
Cleaning Up Your Garden Rake leaves, remove winter mulch, remove dead plants, cut down old stems and leaves, and now is a good time to lightly fertilize your perennials. Also it is important to get weeds under control early. Check for disease and pests and immediately get them under control to avoid huge problems later. Healthy perennials can be divided at this time.
Pruning Shrubs If you are pruning shrubs remember to prune the spring blooming shrubs only after they have finished blooming. Take care to clean your pruners between plants to avoid spreading diseases from plant to plant. Do not prune summer or fall blooming shrubs now or you will be cutting off this year’s blossoms.
Seed Starting April is the month most of the seeds are started indoors.
(Refer to seed starting article and follow directions). Reading seed packet
instructions is essential to knowing which seeds can be started indoors or which seeds can be direct sown into garden beds later.
Planting Outside between end of April and early June is when you usually plant outside. But depending on the weather you may be able to start planting sooner. If you do plant annuals, perennials or overwintered plants outside the plants need to be “hardened off” (There will be an article on this in the May newsletter issue). If your plants are not hardened off they may die and all your hard work is wasted. At this time you will be planting perennials and cool season plants. Night temperatures are too cold for summer or fall bloomers.
Roses Once temperatures are warmer roses can be uncovered. May need to wait until the buds form before cutting back winter dieback.
Spring Bulbs Remove only spent flowers stems from spring blooming bulbs. Do not prune the leaves down so the bulbs can collect their nutrients for next year. Only cut after the leaves turn yellow.
Lawns Late April or May is usually when you cut your lawn for the first time. Do not cut lawns until the
temperatures are 40 degrees, soil is thawed and the soil and grass are dry. Watch to see if the grass is actually growing and has reached at least 3 to 4 inches. Cutting too early can damage new grass coming up. If necessary apply a pre-emergent crabgrass herbicide to the lawn. Aerating, dethatching or reseeding your lawn in spring may make a healthier lawn.
Preparing Garden Beds When the soil is workable rototill vegetable beds or new garden beds to incorporate compost, manure and fertilizer. Fertilize Vegetable beds with 12 12 12 fertilizer and Garden beds with 6 12 12 fertilizer.
Indoor Plants Begin fertilizing houseplants again. You can also repot any plants that have outgrow their pots.