Garden Tips for April
- Transplant tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant into the garden. Indeterminate tomatoes can grow to six feet tall and will need support.
- When purchasing nursery plants, watch for these indicators of weak or unhealthy plants:
- Roots growing through drainage holes indicate root-bound plants.
- Vegetable seedlings producing fruit prematurely may be crowded into too-small pots, and may not perform well the rest of the season.
- Tall, leggy plants have been shaded too long.
- Direct-sow carrots, sweet potatoes, green beans, summer squash, winter squash, and corn.
- Cucumbers and melons can be direct-sown through June.
- Trim dead flowers, but not leaves, from spring bulbs. Fertilize bulbs after bloom.
- Pinch back chrysanthemums and cut old stems to the ground.
- Apply chelated iron to azaleas, gardenias, and camellias if leaves are yellowing between the veins. An application of soil sulfur worked into the soil can lower the pH to help prevent the problem in the future.
- Thin fruit on early-maturing peaches and nectarines.
- Thoroughly clean debris from pond bottoms, fountains, and bird baths.
- If adding a water feature to your garden, choose one that re-circulates the water.
- Continue to weed.
Pest and disease control
- Control earwigs by hand-picking them, or set traps of rolled newspaper, corrugated cardboard, or pieces of garden hose. Shake trapped insects into a bucket of soapy water.
- Watch for fire blight blossom and shoot strikes on apples, pears, and Asian pears.
- Remove new blight strikes weekly on shoots and spurs throughout April before they spread into the branches. Be sure to clean tools with a 10% bleach solution between cuts.
- Hang strips of foil or old CDs in fruit trees to help deter birds.
- Watch for beneficial insects like ladybugs, lacewings, and praying mantises. Be patient—the beneficials usually arrive AFTER the pests do.
- fava beans