Home > Great Big Greenhouse Blog > March 2016 > IN THE DIRT with DOUG - APRIL GARDENING CHORES


It is estimated that our flowers, shrubs, and trees are advanced by 10 to 14 days due to how mild the entire month of March has been this year.  I looked at our extended forecast and we continue to be mild but we do have a couple cold nights but no frost.  Hopefully, this trend will continue.  I would hate to see our fruit tree blossoms be damaged by a frost that would reduce the fruit production.
                As of March 31 our soil temperature is at 56 degrees.  It is still too early to be thinking about planting cold sensitive plants such as tomatoes, peppers, basil and many flowering summer annual bedding plants.  My advice – be patient and the time will be here very soon.
                Here is a list of some chores that need to be done in April:
  1. Hydrangea is one gift plant that transplants well into the garden after its flowers fade.  When the weather warms, plant in well-drained soil in partial shade area.  Don’t be surprised if the next year’s flowers are a different color than the first year.  Blue or pink hydrangea color is dependent on the pH of the soil.  Alkaline soil produces pink flowers; acidic soil produces blue flowers.  White hydrangeas are not affected by soil pH.
  2. Fertilize spring blooming shrubs and trees once they have finished blooming and this includes azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias.  Espoma Holly Tone is a excellent form of food for acid loving plants.
  3. Forsythias are just beginning to finish blooming.  When pruning forsythia, DO NOT SHEAR as you would a hedge.  It is best to thin out the old branches as close to the ground as possible.  This should be done immediately after blooming.  Forsythias bloom best on younger canes of new growth and this is the reason for pruning back hard on the older canes.
  4. In general, when planning your vegetable garden, consider that leafy vegetables, such as lettuce, spinach, kale, etc. need at least 6 hours of sunlight to develop properly.  Fruiting vegetables such as tomatoes, squash, eggplant, and peppers need 8 to 10 hours of full sun.
  5. Don’t be too anxious to move your house plants outdoors.  Chilly nights can cause damage to the leaves.  Remember, in our region the average last frost date is around April 20.  I would suggest holding off on moving house plants outdoors until around the first of May.
Enjoy April.  April is a fantastic gardening month with so much to do and so much enjoyment.
Posted: 3/31/2016 by Doug Hensel | with 1 comment(s)
Another amazing gardening blog shared with us here. I will be putting this up at the superiorpaper.org site so more people can appreciate how good this is. That would satisfy me!
3/14/2018 6:02:54 PM

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