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April Gardening To-Do List
Hello Spring! April in the Tri-Lakes area brings us warm, sunny days and occasional cold, snowy ones. It is the perfect time to start preparing your garden beds for the season, or start making plans for new beds. Here a few things you can do this month.
1. It is time to CLEAN out your perennial beds. Cut back any ornamental grasses and Russian Sage to 4-6 inches. Any perennials you left intact over the winter should be cut down. Butterfly Bush and most Hydrangeas (except for Endless Summer) will bloom on new wood, so they should be pruned down to the ground. Rake out any plant debris, leaves, or winter mulch, and top dress the beds with an inch or two of compost or other soil amendment, and then apply a fresh layer of mulch.
2. We have had a lot of good moisture recently, so WEEDs will be sprouting up everywhere. Commit to spending just 10 minutes a day weeding your beds or lawn and don’t let them flower. If you pull them before they go to seed, you will save yourself hours of weeding later in the summer. (But leave a dandelion or two for the bees!)
3. Once the ground has thawed and the soil can be worked, it is time to PLANT trees, shrubs, and perennials. Several annual flowers and cool-season vegetables can also be planted now. If a hard freeze is forecast make sure to cover any blooming or frost-tender plants with frost cloth or other material to protect them.
4. SOW SEEDs for warm season crops (i.e., tomato, pepper, eggplant) and summer flowers indoors so they will be ready to go out into the garden once the threat of frost has passed. For tips on starting plants from seeds, check out the Seed-Starting 101 Fact Sheet on our website.
5. One of our favorite signs of spring is the return of the HUMMINGBIRDS. They will be arriving around the middle of the month, so check your feeders and replace any that are cracked or leaking. We recommend putting out your feeders on the 15th of the month (or sooner if you hear or see them). Remember to change the nectar every 3-4 days, and to bring the feeders in at night so you don’t attract the bears or other wildlife to them. For homemade nectar mix 1 cup water with ¼ cup white sugar and stir until dissolved. Do not use raw sugar or red food coloring.