Beaver Valley Probus Club

Master Gardener's Corner - April 2024

April 02, 2024 1:15 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Things to do in your garden in April.

Taken from the Ontario Master Gardener Calendar
by John Hethrington, Master Gardener Emeritus
Past President, Master Gardeners of Ontario

Please contact John for more information!

April Garden Tips:

  • Make sure you have done everything you were supposed to do on the March MG List, or ask for a new copy. See email above. Spring had already arrived on many days in March, but then the late snow and cold. Spring cane in like a lamb and out like a lion.
  • Do stretch and bend exercises every time before you start in the garden. I find skiing muscles have nothing to do with gardening muscles. Take it easy. There are a lot of gardening days before the next ski season.
  • A NEW PROGRAM FOR SPREADING TRIPPLE-19 FERTILIZER. I have learned from the Guelph educated Agronomist at the Huron Co-Op in Markdale that you should NOT spread 19-19-19 general purpose fertilizer over the snow on all your flower beds and shrub boarders. You will lose the Nitrogen. So, after the snow has gone, you should spread it on the damp ground in your flower beds, but before plant leaves appear, so they will not be burned. Triple-19 fertilizer is available now at the Mid-West Co-Op just south of Markdale on HWY 10.
  • Organize your compost pile for the new season. Start a new one with the top foot of compost material from last year’s pile as a base.
  • As the weather warms and the ground dries, prune back perennials and ornamental grasses to 1” to 2” from the ground. Collect the dead material and put it on your new compost pile. Shred it, if you can.
  • Push any plants that the frost has heaved, back into place.
  • Prepare garden beds for planting. Dig in compost, and/or manure, and/or other organic material around each plant. Remove any weeds that have come through from last fall. When you have cleaned up the beds, ADD 3” TO 4” OF MULCH to control weeds this summer.
  • Here is an opportunity. Look over your garden to determine what plants are in the wrong place or should be divided. Dig, pot up and donate any extra perennials you have to the St. George’s Anglican church annual plant sale, Saturday June 1st 2024. When you donate 15 or more perennials, you will receive an Income Tax donation receipt for the value your plants sell for. Plant intake day is, Wednesday May 29, 9 am till 3 pm at the church, 177 Russell St. Clarksburg. Call 519-599-5846 and ask for the new FREE Plant Donor Kit, with plant labels, Donor labels, a waterproof Sharpie Pen and complete digging, potting and labeling instructions as a reminder.
  • Remove rose protection. For Hybrid Teas, prune back to 6” or 8”and apply dormant oil spray before the buds break.
  • Apply dormant oil spray to shrubs like euonymus that may have suffered from scale last year. Do it before the buds break.
  • Prepare your vegetable garden with a good digging. Add compost and manure, if you have it. Mid-month, plant the seeds of cool-weather vegetables like peas, spinach, lettuce, onions, beets. Plant seeds of frost resistant annuals like larkspur, sweet peas and calendulas.
  • When you can’t see your foot prints in the lawn, it is dry enough to rake it vigorously to remove any thatch. Then repair damage with weed-free topsoil. Add grass seed to bare spots. Keep moist.
  • Fertilize your lawn with slow-release high nitrogen fertilizer (the first of the 3 numbers on the bag). Slow-release urea costs more, but it’s worth it, as it should last until the fall.
  • Apply crabgrass pre-emergence herbicide to your lawn, if required.
  • When spring finally comes, plant trees, shrubs, perennials and biennials in your garden. No need to wait until May 24th for perennials, that’s for annuals. Up here, June 1st is a better date to start planting frost-tender annuals safely. If there is a late frost forecast, cover annuals with a bed sheet.
  • Re-fill your pots and planters with compost. But first, put empty plastic bottles with tops on at the bottom of large pots. You will need less soil and they will be lighter and easier to move. Add slow-release plant food to the top 4 inches.
  • You can plant frost-resistant pansies NOW for a little early spring colour.
  • Start mowing your lawn only as needed. Keep it long to crowd out any weeds.
  • Save Saturday June 1st for the St. George’s, Anglican Parish of the Blue Mountains, giant annual Plant Sale on the church grounds at 166 Russell St. Clarksburg with hopefully over 1,200 perennials and shrubs to choose from, plus free gardening advice from 599 Garden Club experts.

John Hethrington,
Master Gardener Emeritus,
Past President, Master Gardeners of Ontario

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Beaver Valley PROBUS Club

Box 144, Thornbury, ON N0H 2P0

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