To-Do List for April

Prepare Your Planting Beds

            Help get your garden ready for Spring by preparing your planting beds. Remove any leftover leaf litter or winter mulch, including evergreen boughs placed over tender perennials or extra layers of mulch for cold sensitive roses. Cut back any perennials you left standing over the winter, like Echinacea, Rudbeckia, Russian sage, grasses, etc. Top dress planting beds with fresh compost, and apply a pre-emergent weed killer if needed. Avoid working in your garden beds if the soil is wet, as this will cause compaction and destroy soil structure!

Divide Perennials

              Early spring is the perfect time to divide your perennials to keep them looking healthy and fresh. Now is the time to divide late spring, summer, and fall blooming perennials. Wait until you see the first signs of tender new growth emerging from the newly thawed soil, and be sure to preserve enough of the root ball when digging up your existing plants.  Use clean and sharp tools when dividing root balls, such as soil knives, trowels, large shovels, or hand saws. Divide the main plant into sections that have at least one growing point and enough healthy roots to sustain a new plant – only use the healthiest divisions. Water thoroughly after transplanting to ensure healthy root production and growth. Some perennials, like Delphinium, Foxglove, Lavender, and Russian Sage prefer not to be divided.

Get Growing (on Your Veggie Garden)

              If you were proactive in February and March and have starts of Leeks and Onions, you can begin to harden them off and plant outdoors towards the middle of April. Other veggies, such as Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Kale, Lettuce, Peas, Potatoes, Radishes, Spinach, and Swiss Chard can be directly sown outdoors provided the weather is cooperating. Wait until the end of the month to sow Broccoli and Carrot seeds. If you start your Pepper, Eggplant and Tomato seeds inside now, they’ll be ready for transplant into the garden by mid-late May.

Re-Seed Lawns or Bare Patches

              Cool temperatures and plenty of rain mean spring is a great time to seed a new lawn. Be sure your area is free of rocks and other debris, and well-prepared with a layer of fresh topsoil or compost. Spread straw mulch over newly seeded lawns to lessen the likelihood of the seeds being blown away or eaten by birds (be sure to use straw, not hay, because hay often contains seeds which can sprout and compete with your grass seeds). Be sure to use proper fertilization, and WATER, WATER, WATER.

Plant Annuals

              Now’s time to welcome spring and bring color into your yard with early spring annuals! Pansies and violas are perfect for this time of year, as are Nemesia, Snapdragons, Ranunculus, and Alyssum. Fill the containers or hanging baskets on your front porch, or add some bedding annuals while you wait for your perennials to begin blooming.