Welcome to another spring in the garden! April is right around the corner and I have some tips for you.
April is when the world around us erupts in colors of pinks, whites, lavenders, and light greens as flowers bloom and leaves push forth. Use these tips to get ahead of the game.
- Prepare your beds for annual flowers by adding aged manure or compost to the top, then gently rake in with a garden fork or rake
- As you purchase or bring annuals out from the greenhouse, you will need to harden the tender plants off. Do this by by setting them in a covered area outside for a few hours every day, increasing the hours each consecutive day until they are acclimated to the outside temperature
- The last frost-free date average is different across states and zones.
- Now is the time for eastern tent caterpillars to make their appearance. Check your trees for signs of large webs, if you find them and can reach cut them from the tree and feed to your chickens or burn them
- Do not prune any excess off trees right now, as the sap is running and extra pruning may result in open wounds
- Continue to prune tree hydrangea, ninebark, or lilac as needed
In the Vegetable Garden
- Remember to turn your compost regularly. Also add in kitchen scraps, weeds, and leaves
- Now is the time to plant potatoes, peas, carrots, turnips, spinach, lettuce, kohlrabi, onions, leeks, and chard
- Every 2 weeks, plant succession crops of spinach, lettuce, kohlrabi, and chard until mid-May
- Cover your broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and kale with floating row covers to keep out pests of cole crops
In the Orchard
- Spray crabapple, hawthorn and flowering pear with a fungicide to prevent cedar-apple rust
- Spray peach, apple, cherry, and plum just as bloom finishes, with an insecticide to prevent insect damage to the growing fruit
- Once you are done spraying, hang out your mason bee houses
- Set up red sticky-ball traps in the apple trees to monitor pests
- Now is a good time to begin planting fruit trees
- As perennials are still coming up, cover with chicken-wire cloches to prevent rabbit damage
- Set up your stakes for peonies
- Clean your patio furniture and set out for the season
In the Lawn
- Apply a pre-emergence herbicide only if you have had issues with crabgrass in the past
- Apply a thin layer of compost to the lawn
- Mow your grass at 3-6 inches tall for best root development and lowest weed pressure
- DO NOT Spray dandelions at this time, as wild bees use it as a forage. Instead, if you only have a few, use a dandelion weeder to pull them out by hand
Remember to enjoy your landscape by sitting out on the patio on warm days and by sharing photos of your garden with your friends!