Tuesday, 10 April 2018

April Garden Ramblings

The cold and damp spring has kind of dampened this ole gardener's spirit.

Time to haul your citrus trees out from the greenhouse 

However, while I am less than impressed with Mother Nature, the cool weather veggies love these days of rain mixed with sunshine, so I keep slowly plugging along, prepping and planting!

Starting to think that we may have a super short spring and then go right into summer with a bang.... and cool weather crops do not like summer heat!

So plant them now, enjoy them fresh tasting, crisp and yummy, straight from the garden.          

Early spring veggies!

So, what to do in the garden this month? 

Pull out winter veggies going to seed. Harvest any leeks or winter broccoli that did not get eaten by the bunnies during the long, snowy winter.

Weed and top dress beds with manure or compost if this was not done in the fall. Add organic nutrients like blood meal, bone meal, kelp or seaweed, if needed, to feed your soil. Scratch these goodies lightly into the surface so that you are ready to plant right away.

Not sure what to add? Do a quick soil test to give you a basic idea of how your soil is for nutrients and pH.

Watch the garlic grow.... If it needs an extra boost of nutrients, side dress with a bit of manure or compost, plus blood meal for good strong tops and bone meal for bigger bulbs.

Plant a row or two of strawberries! June-bearing and Ever-bearing for berries from spring through fall.

This is a great time to plant new fruit trees of all sorts and berry shrubs as they require a whole lot less watering and tlc than if planted later in the season.

Use companion plants everywhere

With those beds all ready to go, what to plant in them now? All the yummy stuff that loves this cool, wet weather!

Plant in the garden now, from seed ....
Swiss chard

Plant now from transplants...
 Broccoli/broccolini/broccoli raab
Swiss Chard

Sow Zinnias from seed for a fabulous selection of colours!  

Companion plants... 
 Sweet alyssum
Nasturtiums from seed
Zinnias (toss in seeds closer to the end of the month... or from starter plants in May.)
Sweet Peas

The ones above are some of the very best companion plants for your veggie garden, but there are a great many flowers that can be planted or sown this month. The more diversity you have in the garden, the happier your plants and pollinators will be.

Herbs to plant now... 
Dill (seed or starter)
Cilantro (seed or starter)

Ama Rosa, Banana, and Purple Russian potatoes. So pretty! 

About potatoes. I usually plant during the first or second weekend of April. This year, with the gardens so wet and the soil still so cool, I am holding off for another week or two. They are currently sitting on the window sill chitting (sprouting). We can plant spuds anytime between now and mid-June, so no real hurry.

For how I plant potatoes in raised beds, see HERE! If you want to read even more about potatoes, I have blogged about them often over the years. Put the word 'potato' in the Search Bar and several great posts will pop up.

What starters NOT to buy yet?
Tomatoes! Plus peppers, eggplants, cucumbers, or squash. Is simply too early and too cold.... especially this year! These are all hot-weather (summer) crops.  

I see that some box stores and even some nurseries (for shame!) are selling tomato seedlings already. Please do not buy them! Tomatoes are heat lovers and cannot go out into the garden till the night air temps are +10°C (sometime in May or even June). 

Just waiting for a bit more sunshine so these tulips start to show off

What else to do? 

Transplant your tomato seedlings, and start  feeding all your starts every week or two with a weak organic tomato food or alfalfa tea. Find the tea recipes HERE!

Never fertilise on dry soil, water your plants first and then feed to prevent burning the roots.

No colour yet, but soon, very soon!  

Feed your over-wintered geraniums (pelargoniums), mini roses, and fuchsias bi-weekly.

Pot up your dahlias, canna lilies, calla lilies, and other bulbs for a head start. Transfer to the garden in a few weeks time.

This fabulous picture from Pinterest, no credits provided.

Plant some pots of pretty colour for spring and your Easter table.  

Happy Gardening! 

(Originally posted in April of 2017 but the weather is the same this year)

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