Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Dani Hemmat

April: time to weed, water and clean


Dani Hemmat

Wee seedlings started indoors during February, March and April are sweet and satisfying little budget boosters.

Even though there is snow on the ground as I write, warmer weather is around the corner. While the longer days and climbing temperatures put a little more pep in almost everyone’s step, it is an especially exciting time for gardeners.

It’s also crunch time. Time to clean up, keep starting those seeds indoors, water those dry lawns and mulch until the cows come home.

First up is to check on those seedlings. Remember February’s gardening column, in which we planned out our planting and seeding schedule to save a lot of money and experience the satisfaction of starting from scratch? I’m in the thick of it, with shelves of wee seedlings taking up my living room and a reminder popping up on my phone every morning to keep them watered.

If you haven’t started your seedlings, you’ve still got time. Last frost date is typically about May 15, so grab some soil, some seeds, and sow away.

April gardening tasks also include weeding. Yes, you had a break for a few months, but those little intruders won’t leave on their own, and now is a great time to get down on your hands and knees and get them out of your garden and flower beds before they really take hold. You can also begin tilling and turning your soil while you pull weeds, being careful of emerging bulbs that have been peeking out in-between snowfalls.

If you left some leaves in your beds and lawn last fall, then thank you. Not only did you save yourself some hassle, you helped create a nice fall and winter habitat for bugs and other critters such as salamanders, snails, worms and toads, which in turn helps feed the birds in winter and spring. It is also free fertilizer for your lawn and planting beds. However, now is the time to gently rake up any remaining leaves and debris, being mindful of any tender new growth that you’re raking around. You can weed as you go, and compost anything you clean up that is free of disease.

While you’re enjoying the comfortable temperatures in your backyard, you can cut back any spent foliage on your perennial plants. Cut back to just where you see new growth. If you’ve got rose bushes, wait until late April or early May to prune them. Do it too early and you can actually set them back one whole growing season, so be prudent in your pruning.

Before the season gets too busy, take a look at your tools. Get mowers tuned up, blades sharpened and make sure your gloves survived the winter without any rodent holes. If you have a sprinkler system, turn it on in late April, and be prepared to do some hand-watering until then. We had a nice, wet winter, but if April showers are less than predicted, then the plants in your care will be counting on you to give them a few drinks before moving into a regular watering program in late spring.


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