Early April Garden Check List

Ready to dive into your outside garden chores?
Before you do, think about those muscles that have enjoyed a long winter respite. Digging, weeding, planting – you will be using muscles that have been ‘dormant’ for several or more months. Ease yourself back into things – a little daily stretching of the arms and legs goes a long way.

Time to plant cool season spring veggies! Started seedlings or purchased transplants of peas, lettuces, beets, arugula, carrots, kale, spinach, onions, Swiss chard, cabbage, broccoli rabe, and broccoli can be planted in containers or directly in the garden now. A word to the wise: keep an eye on near freezing temperatures. If so, cover young transplants for temporary protection.

Favorable weather has peonies pushing lots of new growth. Time to add peony hoops before they get too big. No need to hoop tree peonies; their woody stems provide all needed support.

Have you tackled rose pruning yet? Time to remove all dead canes, and prune back to just above healthy buds and flushes of growth. When done, fertilize according to package directions. Take note of fertilizer frequency and follow for fabulous roses this year.

Don’t toss, replant your spent Easter Lily. Simple enough – remove the spent blooms but let the leaves yellow and ripen. Remove from the pot and plant in a sunny garden location that offers well-drained soil. This perennial bulb will bloom again next spring.

The wait is over… it’s time to start seeds of warm season veggies indoors – tomatoes, eggplants, peppers – to name a few. Helpful seed starting tips: seeds do not need light to germinate, they need warmth and moisture. After germination, make sure young seedlings get adequate warmth, moisture, and 12-16 hours of light each day.

Heavy rainfalls and winter winds can cause mulch to ‘disappear’ from landscape beds. When it’s time to add mulch, clean landscape beds first, then apply 2-3” of mulch. A few words of advice: always keep mulch several inches away from the crowns and trunks of all plants. And never mound mulch around the trunks of trees, a bad practice known as volcano mulching.