What to do in the garden in April

April is here, and that means spring is definitely here — right?


Tap, tap. Is this on?

The calendar says spring is here. The weather may be saying something else. But regardless of whether spring has truly arrived or is just tormenting us with false promises, there are things you can be doing out there once the nicer weather does arrive.

Our friends at Oregon State University Extension Service have their April garden calendar, which has many great tips and ideas.

Here are some:
• Prepare garden soil for spring planting. Incorporate generous amounts of organic materials and other amendments, using the results of a soil analysis as a guide.
• Prepare raised beds in areas where cold soils and poor drainage are a continuing problem. Incorporate generous amounts (at least 2 inches) of organic materials.
• Use a soil thermometer to help you know when to plant vegetables. When the soil is consistently above 60 degrees Fahrenheit, some warm-season vegetables (beans, sweet corn) can be planted.
• Allow foliage of spring-flowering bulbs to brown and die down before removing.
• Apply commercial fertilizers, manure or compost to cane, bush (gooseberries, currants and blueberries), and trailing berries.
• Place compost or decomposed manure around perennial vegetables, such as asparagus and rhubarb.
• Cut back ornamental grasses to a few inches above the ground.
• Cover transplants to protect against late spring frosts.
• This is an optimum time to fertilize lawns. Apply 1 pound nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn. Reduce risks of runoff into local waterways by not fertilizing just prior to rain, and not overirrigating so that water runs off the lawn and onto the sidewalk or street.

Another thing you can do in April is plant seeds or starts. Portland Nursery’s helpful Veggie Calendar (PDF) tells you what will work this time of year. The list is growing.

And you can pick up the seeds and starts you need from many of our local garden centers.

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