Things to do in your garden each month taken from the Ontario Master Gardener Calendar by John Hethrington, Past President, Master Gardeners of Ontario. For more information call 519-599-5846.
Please Note: The Paul Zammit presentation on Perennials has been postponed until Thursday, May 28 2020 at the Beaver Valley Community Centre at 7 PM. See you there!
- Make sure you have done everything you were supposed to do on the March Master Gardener's List.
- Do stretch and bend exercises 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 ski season comes again.
- I hope you had a chance to spread 19-19-19 general purpose fertilizer over the snow on all your flower beds and shrub borders before the snow disappeared. It melts down into the ground as the snow goes away. It and other fertilizers are available at the Co-Op in Markdale, at 10% discount for 599 Members. If you missed this step this year, plan for next winter and buy the fertilizer this fall.
- The snow has gone but may be back once or twice in April. You can still spread the triple 19 as long as it does not get on to the emerging plants, as it may burn them.
- Organize your compost pile for the new season. Start a new one with the top foot of compost 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 3” from the ground. Put dead material on your new compost pile. Shred if possible.
- 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.
- Remove rose protection. For Hybrid Teas, Prune 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 and mid-month plant the seeds of cool-weather vegetables like peas, spinach, lettuce, onions, beets and seeds of frost resistant annuals like larkspur, sweet peas and calendulas.
- When dry, rake your lawn vigorously to remove thatch, repair damage with weed-free topsoil. Add grass seed to bare spots. Keep moist.
- Fertilize your lawn with slow-release high nitrogen (the first of the 3 numbers) fertilizer. Slow release urea costs more, but it’s worth it.
- 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. It may be the first week in June before you can get frost tender annuals into the ground.
- Re-fill your pots and planters with compost. Put empty plastic bottles with tops at the bottom of large pots. You will need less soil and they will be lighter to move. Add slow release plant food to the top 4 inches.
- Plant frost-resistant pansies NOW for a little spring colour.