Garden To Do List April

I hope you’ve gotten plenty of rest over the past few months because spring is here. It’s time to come out of dormancy and get to work in the garden.

  • Make it easy to create container gardens. If you’re planting several containers, use a lazy Susan and place the pot on the turntable and spin it around as you plant.
  • Save a spot for fall bulb planting. If you are planting a new flowerbed and know that in the fall you’ll want to add some spring flowering bulbs, here is an easy way to hold a place for them in the border. Amid the spring plants, dig holes where you’ll want to later plant the bulbs. Make sure the holes are large enough to accommodate a good size plastic nursery pot that has drainage holes. Put the pots in the holes, and then refill the pots with the dug soil. In the fall, lift the pots, place the bulbs in the bottom of the holes and dump the soil over them.
  • After daffodil blooms have faded, snap off the blossoms before they go to seed, and make sure you leave the foliage for at least 8 weeks to recharge the bulbs. Feed your flowers with an all-purpose dry fertilizer (5-10-5). Just sprinkle a tablespoon at the base of each daffodil, but avoid spreading it on the leaves of the plants.
  • Spring frosts may zap emerging foliage, but the plant will rebound. You can remove the wilted leaves, but wait to do any pruning on woody perennials, shrubs and trees until new growth emerges later this spring. To decide where to make the cut, scratch stems to check for green tissue beneath the bark.
  • April weather can be fickle. Resist the urge to plant warm season annuals and vegetables until the last frost date has passed in your area.
  • To avoid pulling out desirable hardy volunteers (annuals that reseed themselves) such as larkspur, old-fashioned petunias and nicotiana, learn to identify the seedlings before you start weeding and applying mulch.
  • The best way to remove dandelions from your lawn, and the most earth-friendly, is to dig them out with a long forked tool. It’s important to dig out the dandelion’s taproot.
  • If you planted garlic last fall or in early spring, keep the flowers pinched off. This will direct all the plant’s energy toward growing a large bulb. Garlic is ready to harvest as soon as the foliage turns brown and falls over.
  • Get staking supports in place before plants get too tall.
  • Why spend another summer fighting with your garden hose? Before the growing season gets underway invest in quality hoses that won’t kink, crack or misbehave.
  • Apply mulch after the soil warms to 55 – 60 degrees F.
  • Pinch back faded sweet pea flowers to keep them from going to seed. This will prolong the bloom time of the plant.