Victory Gardener’s Almanack for the month of April

Mike Dunton’s Maritime Northwest Edition Victory Gardener’s Almanack for the month of April

The weather is generally transitional at this time. Enjoy the beautiful sunbreaks, but keep on alert for the downpours. Stop, appreciate, and enjoy the beautiful flowering that is happening all around.

In the Vegetable Garden

• As soon you can work the soil, begin to set out your broccoli, lettuce, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and early cabbage plants.
• Sow broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, garlic, kale, kohlrabi, peas, radishes, salsify, spinach, and turnips 20 to 40 days prior to your last expected frost date.
• Between 10 to 30 days prior to your last expected frost date, sow beets, carrots, cauliflower, lettuce, and Swiss chard seeds.
• Experimentation and documentation are the keys to successful gardens. Try new things, but write it down and make notes throughout the season. Your garden journals make great reading on those long winter days. They help you plan your planting and harvest strategies, your layout, and your seed selection.
• If you are growing asparagus, transplant roots now in furrows so that the crowns are four to six inches below the surface, spacing 12 to 18 inches apart. Sandy loam soil works best.
• Leave cold frames open during the warmth of the days to help harden off plants.
• Don’t plant out all of your seedlings. Keep extras to serve as replacements for those lost after transplanting.

In the Yard and Orchard

• Complete your rose pruning as soon as possible. Replace roses that have died over winter as soon as you can work the ground.
• Be careful not to damage emerging bulbs while weeding your gardens and flowerbeds.
• Scatter your annual poppy seeds.
• Nick your Morning Glory seeds prior to planting to improve germination. They
prefer poor soil. Fertile ground will produce a lot of foliage but few flowers
• Experiment with planting fast-growing vines, like runner beans,. Conditions may be a bit cold but if you get an early start, you will be able to enjoy the beautiful blooms much longer. Consider locations that will hide ugly areas like bare fences or sheds.
• Divide delphiniums as soon as the plants emerge in the Spring.
• Easter lilies that have finished blooming in the house can be planted in your beds.
• Use well-rotted manure to feed new perennial flower beds.
• Before growth starts, trim your evergreen boxwood, arborvitae, yew and laurel hedges. Concentrate on trimming last year’s growth.
• Finish planting bare root trees.
• Cultivate lime into the soil around clematis and lilacs.
• Leave the rotting foliage of last year’s growth on your fern and wildflower beds.
• Clean up last year’s foliage from around delphiniums.
• Re-seed bare spots, or over-seed thin spots in the lawn.
• Clean up vining plants. Make sure that they are not growing under your siding or wrapping around electrical wires or downspouts.

Mike Dunton is the founder of the Victory Seed Company and one of the early signers of the Safe Seed Pledge. The Victory Seed Company works to preserve rare, threatened, heirloom seeds and to make them available to home gardeners. 

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