April Gardening Tips

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Vegetable starts are available now. We are receiving shipments of vegetable starts every week now and will continue to have them through the next couple of months. We also have some vegetable and herb starts in the greenhouse that should be coming out soon. We will have many different and unique tomato varieties (different than our usual wide selection) that should be ready in about 3 weeks or so. They are about an inch tall now. As usual we have many heirloom and other varieties of tomatoes available now. Our 4″ vege starts are $1.95 each. 6 pak vege starts are $3.50 each. We have a very large selection of tomatoes, squash, peppers, pumpkins, cucumbers, etc. with more arriving every Wednesday.

Start prepping your area for your vegetables now. Be sure to add phosphorous or bone meal for root development. Incorporate it into the soil. Also add calcium to your soil to prevent blossom end rot. Incorporate your vegetable fertilizer and compost and/or chicken or steer manure in advance and be ready to plant. I use vegetable fertilizer, kelp meal and bone meal in the vegetable garden. Kelp meal helps with disease resistance and bone meal adds the calcium needed.

When planting tomatoes, plant about 2 to 3 inches deeper than the current dirt level of the pot and on an angle. The part of the stem that is under ground will develop roots and give you a nice sturdy base and a much thicker stalk. The part above ground will grow straight. Makes for a much stronger plant. If you are unsure, just ask when you are in. We can show you.

The temperatures have been just about perfect these last few weeks and we have received some much needed rain. It is turning out to be a really nice spring.

If your bulbs are done blooming you want to remove the flowers but leave the leaves on them. While the leaves are still green, use a bulb fertilizer or bone meal on them. This will feed the bulb in the ground and give you better blooms next year. Wait until the leaves become yellow and dried to remove them.

If you have not fertilized for spring yet it is time to do it. Most deciduous trees and shrubs should now have their leaves so it is the time to give them their first feeding of the season. A balanced fertilizer, such as 16-16-16, works well for most plants in the landscape. Some specialty fertilizers are used for citrus, rhododendron, azalea and camellia, and roses. Fertilize citrus trees monthly through the growing season. Usually April through October. You don’t want to fertilize them during cold months that might have frost. Roses should be fertilized about every 6 weeks with a rose fertilizer through the growing season. Rhododendron, azaleas and camellias should be fertilized 3 times after they are done blooming each time a month apart. Remember to always water your plants well the day before you fertilize and then water the fertilizer in well.

We have a large line of organic fertilizers as well. We carry Dr Earth brand of organic fertilizer. We also have a water soluable organic fertilizer from Dr. Earth. Nitro Big, 7-2-2, makes 8 gallons of fertilizer. One pint sells for $9.99. Golden Bloom, 2-7-2, makes 8 gallons of fertilizer and sells for $9.99. An easy way to fertilize organically.

Its a good idea to start spraying your roses against powdery mildew and blackspot. ¬†You want to start spraying monthly, particularly in the spring, with a rose fungicide. We use neem oil at the nursery mixed with Monterey horticultural oil which works really well and is a more environmentally friendly and people friendly alternative. We spray every two weeks. We have lots of roses that could be affected by mildew. If you don’t have as many, probably once a month should be fine. If the diseases get ahead of you though, the rose fungicides do a better job of correcting the problem.

To enhance the color of flowers on roses, apply about 2 ounces of Epsom Salts (magnesium sulfate), which you can buy at any drug store, on newly established plants and 4 ounces on older plants in April and repeat in May. To stimulate more canes on roses cane berries, blueberries etc., apply alfalfa pellets and water into the root zone about three times at monthly intervals.

Watering season is fast approaching. Check your drip systems and make sure they are working properly for all established plants and new plants. If you are like me and plant the plants and depend on the rain with the intention of getting the drip system in, it would be a good idea to get that done as soon as possible. This may actually be a note to myself as much as anyone else. Don’t wait until it is too late and you see damage from lack of water. The ground is moist now but after a couple of weeks of no rain you will need to be watering.

Keep an eye out for aphids. We have seen them at the nursery. If you have them spray with an insecticide or neem oil. You can also purchase lady bugs at some locations and release them in your garden. On roses you can use a systemic fertilizer. We also have a once a year systemic treatment for trees and shrubs. Monterey Once A Year Insect Control. Use one ounce per one inch of trunk circumference for trees and 1 ounce per 3 ft of height for shrubs. Works really well for aphids and borers and you only have to apply it once a year. Great for crape myrtles to avoid the sticky aphid drip. Or on any other plant that you have that problem with.

We will hold our first organic vegetable gardening clinic on April 19th at 10 am. We will be holding the class at the raised beds here at the nursery. No reservation or advance notice is necessary. Just show up.

We have lots of color bowls and hanging baskets that we started in early March that should be full and ready to go in a couple of weeks. Lots of different color combinations and varieties. Wave petunia, callibrachoa (Million Bells), Lobelia and many others. They will sell for $18.00 each. Nice for Easter color or for Mother’s Day or for just nice pretty color in spring and summer.

The nursery is looking really nice right now. All the new spring green and color starting to flourish and the inventory is packed full. It is such a nice time of year to get out and garden. The hillside garden we are creating is beautiful right now as well. When you are in, take the time to walk through it. You might get some ideas and it is very peaceful and relaxing to just sit and spend a little time. Lots of benches and soon a picnic table. We just need to get it painted and up there. Hopefully this weekend.

We hope you visit soon.

Jeff