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DOUG’S GARDENING BLOG – April Gardening Chores

By Doug Hensel
Doug's Blog

FINALLY, APRIL IS HERE. WE ARE BURSTING WITH COLOR AND GARDENING SUPPLIES

March has now passed. But, March was a very nice gardening month with the continued warm winter temperatures and with some timely rainfall. March of 2016 and 2017 was cold, wet, dreary, and snowy.

As of March 31, our soil temperature is sitting at degrees. This is an important number to keep in mind as we start gardening in April. This number tells me that it is still too early to be thinking about planting cold-sensitive plants such as tomatoes, peppers, basil, and many summer flowering annual bedding plants. My advice – we need to be patient and allow Mother Nature to warm us up and that time will be coming soon. Also, keep in mind that our average last frost date for our region is not until around April 20. So, don’t get ahead of yourself when it comes to planting cold-sensitive plants or beginning to take your tropical house plants outside.

We have 2 national gardening activities this month:

EARTH DAY – WEDNESDAY, APRIL 22

NATIONAL ARBOR DAY – FRIDAY, APRIL 24

These are two great days to support with getting families and school children outside and do some gardening and planting.

HERE ARE A FEW GARDENING THOUGHTS:

EARTHWORMS

Consider yourself fortunate if you have earthworms in your soil. They are our nature’s plow, aerating the soil as they travel. And, they leave behind casting that is great organic nutrients for our soil.

CLAY SOIL

I know…clay soil is tough to dig into and plant. But, did you know that clay soil is good in that it holds nutrients? With this said, many of us need to add amendments to this clay soil at the time of planting. I love leaf compost as an additive to clay soil. Also, not a bad idea to add some cow manure in order to improve the soil even more.

GRASS-CYCLING

We are now actively mowing our lawns. Remember GRASS-CYCLING. Grasscycling is leaving your grass clippings on the lawn – DON’T BAG ANY MORE!!!! Grass clippings are 85% water and break down quickly returning 20% of their nitrogen back to the lawn.

HERE ARE SOME GARDENING CHORES FOR APRIL:

  1. Now is the time to feed our evergreens. ESPOMA HOLLY-TONE, PLANT-TONE, AND GARDEN-TONE are excellent, organic food for our plants.
  2. The time to prune spring-blooming shrubs such as azaleas, forsythia, rhododendrons, camellias, etc. is after they have finished blooming. Also, this is the perfect time to give them good quality feeding such as with ESPOMA HOLLY-TONE.
  3. Forsythias are finishing blooming now. When pruning forsythia, DO NOT SHEAR as you would a hedge. It is best to thin out some of the older branches as close to the ground as possible. Forsythias bloom best on younger canes of new growth. This is the reason for pruning back hard on the older canes.
  4. When planting your vegetable, be sure to add ESPOMA BIO-TONE into the soil at the time of planting. Bio-Tone is a root stimulator. You will be amazed at the results.
  5. When planting this month, remember the GOLDEN RULE FOR PLANTING – “RIGHT PLANT/ RIGHT LOCATION”. It is very important to read the label which gives you growing dimensions as well as sun requirements. Plants may look small and cute in the garden center. But, they may only be babies.
  6. Summer bulbs, such as the very popular caladiums and elephant ears can be planted now.

HAPPY GARDENING and remember “PLANT A LITTLE HAPPINESS” !!!!!!

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