April is a busy month in my garden. It’s the end of the spring bloom and the beginning of the summer season. Weather can be all over the map. There’s almost always a cold snap right around Easter, which means I have to be careful not to jump the gun on warm-weather vegetable planting. Here’s what’s happening this month.
Turning over the Veggie Beds
I’m enjoying the last of the cool season veggies. Lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, kale, broccoli, radishes, turnips, beets, and cabbage are winding down. I always let a few of each of these bolt (flower) because pollinators just love to sip from the blooms. As the cool season vegetables finish I pull out and compost or throw away (I never compost anything in the cabbage family. My compost doesn’t get hot enough to kill diseases.) last season’s growth and prep the beds for summer. My soil is always pretty sandy, so I add compost and worm castings at the beginning of every season before planting.

Add compost in between seasons to continuously improve the soil.

 

When planting transplants always harden them off before setting them in the ground. Leave them in a sheltered area for a few days to let them get used to being outside.

Sowing a Summer Cutting Garden
I have fairly limited sun in my garden, and I reserve the sunny spots for cutting flowers like my grandma used to grow. Good choices for the cutting garden include zinnias, cosmos, celosia, strawflower, daisies, sunflowers, salvia, and anything else on tall, straight stems that will keep pushing new growth after you cut. For summerlong blooms sow seeds in batches every three weeks from mid-April through early June.

Zinnias are the ultimate cutting garden flower and so beautiful in the spring.

Create a simple lattice of twine & stakes for cutting flowers to grow through.

Feeding Spring Bloomers
Some years I feed my bulbs, azaleas, and camellias, and some years I don’t. Last year I actually got around to it and I was rewarded with an amazing show this spring. (Well, an amazing show from whatever didn’t get whapped by the crazy freezes we’ve been having in between 80 degree days.) I respond well to positive feedback so I’ll definitely be making time to feed the spring blooming plants this year. My fertilizer of choice is always an organic bone and blood meal based product because it feeds the soil and the plants. Feed all spring-blooming plants right after they finish flowering.

Measure the fertilizer application. More is not always better.

Always “water in” the application.