Please note: What I write in this space are lessons learned through trial and error, research, and from other gardeners and professionals. I garden in zone 9, but share garden experiences that I believe are relevant to most zones within a reasonable time frame and planting conditions.
April | If possible before you plant, have the soil tested, then fertilize and amend accordingly. Fertilizer will feed the plants nutrients. Compost will help retain moisture and provide oxygen to roots. The soil needs to be damp, and not soggy when feeding, amending, or planting.
Whether you direct sow seeds or seedlings, take care to protect them from unexpected harsh forecasts.
In the vegetable garden: There’s still time to transplant cool-season vegetable seedlings outdoors. These include lettuce, carrots, chives, mint, oregano, thyme, rosemary, tarragon, beets, parsley, cilantro, cabbage, onions, radishes, kale, peas, spinach, celery (which can grow all year), mustard.
Plant seed potatoes purchased from a nursery, not supermarket potatoes treated to prevent sprouting. Turnips should go in ground in late April.
Sow as seeds indoors or in beds, or transplant summer-vegetable seedlings (tomatoes, melons, peppers, eggplant, beans, chard, and cucumbers, zucchini, squash).
If you planted garlic last fall, pinch off the flowers. Harvest them when foliage falls over or turns brown.
Cut off strawberry runners.
Feed citrus trees . . . everything (shrubs, vines, flowers, etc.) so they receive the nutrients needed to support spring growth.
In the landscape: Apply pre-emergent weed-and-feed to lawns. This simple step is what will make turf green and weed-less instead of brownish-yellow and weedy. Even if you don’t live in town under regulated water mandates, do your part by watering deeply and less often. To save water, aerate your lawn for good drainage and deep saturation.
Pinch back mums, geraniums, and fuchsias for a bushier plant and more flowers. Also, pinch back faded sweet pea blooms.
After your azalea and camellia flowers fad, pinch back the branch tips. This will keep them dense, and promote more flowers next year. Feed through October with an azalea-camellia food, once monthly after the last blossom drops.
April is a great month to plant just about anything . . . shade trees, shrubs, vines, annuals, perennials, groundcover, and lawn.
Watch for aphids, as they love new growth. There are organic products on the market.
Prune lavender plants by cutting off 1/3 of the new growth. This will keep the plant from getting too woody.
Spray or hand-pull weeds while the soil is moist, before they get too large and out of control.
Copyright © 2010 Dianne Marie Andre