Not Too Hot, Not Too Cold: April Is The Perfect Month to Garden

April offers an ideal gardening climate in Southern California. With hot weather ahead, gardening enthusiasts should take advantage of April’s mild temperatures and longer days.

Rotate Crops: Some vegetables such as corn tomatoes, lettuce and cabbage deplete soil nitrogen so rotating them to another area of the garden will keep the soil in balance. Plant such light feeders as peas and beans in the location instead.

Plant Vegetables In Containers: A robust vegetable garden doesn’t need a lot of space. If you don’t have a big backyard, think about container gardening. Herbs, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, melons and squash can all be grown successfully in containers. Make sure to water regularly, as the soil will dry quickly. If space is very tight, consider gardening in a community garden, located in most cities. The gardens enable residents to plant vegetables in designated plots.

Plant Warm-Season Annuals: Warm season annuals such as marigolds, petunias, daisies, zinnia and impatiens thrive in spring, summer and early fall. Since they only last until fall, warm season annuals spend all their energy flowering. Remove dead flowers to encourage growth. When planting, dig a hole and add compost to the bottom and into the existing soil. Pick plants with small, but healthy leaves.

Acquire a Green Thumb: If you are new to vegetable gardening, start with easy-to-grow vegetables that require little care and maintenance. These include tomatoes, summer squash, radishes and beans. The key is to first add organic vegetable mix into existing soil so it is rich in nutrients. Next, add plants and keep them moist by watering once a day for one week and then water as needed. These vegetables grow quickly. The only maintenance required is to remove vegetables as they ripen.

Prune Fruit Trees: There is still time to prune fruit trees-but only if buds have not yet turned into blooms. Pruning a blooming fruit tree causes stress on the tree, which could mean little or no fruit this year.

Leave Frost Damaged Plants Alone: Plants that experienced frost damage may look the worse for wear, but underneath the brown, withered leaves is usually a healthy plant. Watch for new growth to emerge on limbs in April. New growth should displace the dead leaves meaning very little pruning is needed.

Manage Your Water: With water restrictions on the horizon (or already in place), take steps to make the most of the water in the garden. To reduce water usage but still maintain a healthy garden, layer mulch around plants and trees to hold in moisture and keep the soil cool. This will also reduce weeds, which compete for water. Add a drip irrigation system to reduce evaporation. These steps should mean adequate water even if watering is restricted to only two days a week.

Article Source Link by Bill Camarillo