TOMORROW WILL BE ALL FOOL’S DAY OR APRIL FOOL’S DAY It’s hard to believe that tomorrow is April Fool’s Day. We hope that you as a gardener will not be fooled into setting out or planting warm weather vegetables in the fickle temperatures of early April. Even though many seed shops have pepper and tomato plants and even if you set them out and cover them up, they may not live or grow much in the April cool and fickleness.
APRIL IS A GOOD MONTH TO PLANT ROSEBUSHES The season for planting roses has arrived and they can now be planted for beauty all summer long. One of the most beautiful and productive, as well as low maintenance roses is the “Knockout”. This variety comes in colors of red, pink, white and yellow. A unique feature about these roses is the fact that they don’t produce large canes and they survive harsh winter temperatures. When you plant them, add a layer of peat moss in the hole where you plant the rose bush, then add water to the root ball and the peat moss. After this, add soil and peat moss mixed together to finish filling the hole, tamp down the soil and finish filling the hole. Tamp down the soil and sprinkle soil with water. Water the new bushes once every week and feed with liquid fertilizer every two weeks. Even in the first summer you should have quite a few blooms.
THE HUMMINGBIRDS DURING THE MONTH OF APRIL These small wonder birds are now arriving in the Piedmont and are searching for food which they be in short supply because many flowers may have not yet bloomed. You can make their search for food easier by placing feeders out. If you put the feeders out, they will come!
EARLY SPRING IS ALSO THE TIME FOR BLUEBIRDS They may not be as plentiful as robins, but there are plenty of them in our area. Many bird lovers and gardeners are making them feel welcome by placing birdhouses near their gardens and lawns. Bluebirds are not as social as robins or other birds, so place birdhouses a distance from your porch or deck. The bluebirds will come to the feeders if they are not too close to the porch.
THE LAST FROST OF THE SEASON One of the reasons why tomatoes and peppers are not planted in the April garden is all during the month the nights are cool and there is a constant danger of frost all month. Usually the last frost date if April 15 but even until month’s end we can see a frost.
WILL WE HAVE MANY APRIL SHOWERS? I remember April showers when I was a boy in the fourth grade and Patricia, a childhood sweetheart, would bring her umbrella to school every day, just in case it rained. A lot of kids laughed at her but when an April shower came, she got the last laugh and I would walk under the umbrella with her all the way home. April showers seem to be more rare in this 21st century and it is a shame because nothing smells as fresh as an April shower! Maybe this will be the year of the comeback of April showers and also girls taking their umbrellas to school!
THE FICKLE MONTH OF APRIL As April begins, we have enough surprises in the weather itself, without making our own surprises in the garden plot by planting a seed of warm weather vegetables in the cold April soil. They will thrive better if we wait until the warm nights of May to plant warm weather vegetables crops.
THE WEEDS ARE WAKING UP Weeds grow in every season and they are now showing up in rows and beds. The very best way to control the population of weeds is pull them up by the root and throw them out of the garden. Pull them up when they are small. Morning Glory and Lamb’s Quarters are always the first weeds to show up in early spring. They are also easy to see and pull up before they overtake the garden plot.
PLANTING A LAZY MAN’S POTATO PATCH IN EARLY APRIL This is a simple way to grow a bed or row of Irish potatoes that anyone can do and expect success. Simply dig out or til the area where you desire to set out a row or bed of potatoes. When the soil is prepared, dig furrows about ten inches deep and pour in a layer of peat moss. Plant whole seed potatoes, not pieces that have been cut because this causes mold and rot. Plant potatoes about twelve inches apart, add another layer of peat moss and then cover it with soil and tamp down the soil. water with a spray can and dig under the vines for clean potatoes. While the vines are growing, add some liquid fertilizer every ten days.
THE DOGWOOD TREES ARE IN THE BUD STAGE The Dogwoods are showing plenty of signs of life as their buds are popping out, in just a couple weeks they will begin full bloom and cover the spring landscape with a layer of white and pink.
THE FIRST MOW OF THE EARLY SPRING GRASS As the month of April begins, so does the season of mowing and trimming the lawn. Spring grass usually has plenty of moisture so it’s best to wait until mid-afternoon to begin mowing operations. Dry grass is much easier to and keeps rust from forming under the mower’s housing. Dry grass also comes out of the chute cleaner without piling up and making a mess all over the lawn. Check the lawn each time before you mow and make sure there are no sticks, twigs or rocks and litter for the lawn mower blade to run over and cause dullness and damage to the blade.
APRIL ALMANAC As you already know, tomorrow is April Fool’s day. There will be a new moon in the western sky at sunset Thursday, April 7, 2016 and the moon reaches it’s first quarter on Wednesday, April 13, 2016. Thomas Jefferson’s Birthday will be Wednesday, April 13, 2016. The moon will be full on the night of Friday, April 22, 2016 and the name of this moon is “Full Pink Moon”. The moon reaches it’s last quarter on Friday, April 29, 2016. National Arbor Day is Friday, April 29, 2016.
STILL TIME FOR A BED OR ROW OF ONION SETS The cool nights of early April will cause a row of onion sets to quickly thrive and be ready for the salad bowl in about 45 days. You can choose from red, white or yellow sets. A pound will cost less than three dollars. Sow them in a furrow about two or three inches apart and cover with a layer of soil.
EARLY SPRING AND A ROW OR BED OF SPRING GREENS Greens planted in early spring provide a quick vegetable harvest. Spring greens are sweeter than Autumn greens and produce a harvest in less than 45 days. You can plant curly mustard greens by themselves or mix them with kale, rape, tendergreen, broad leaf, curly kale, Siberian kale, turnip. You can purchase seed by the ounce for around two dollars. Greens can be planted in rows or broadcast in a row or bed. It’s easier to harvest when planted in rows.
Ray Baird has been providing gardening tips to the community for years and can be reached at 336-969-9350 or at BSylvia1946@gmail.com.