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March 26th, 2015 at 11:00 am

April gardening

If you followed our March gardening tips, your garden should be almost ready for the upcoming spring planting season. If not, start with our March to-dos before moving on to our April list.

Follow the tips below on what to plant and how to maintain your garden for stunning results this spring.

Assess your garden. Is it ready for planting? Before you put any new plants in the ground, be sure you’ve fully removed all weeds from your garden. If you haven’t, weeds can grow out of control and take over the entire area. Weeds also compete with your new plants for nutrients, water, and sunlight. If you don’t weed your garden, you risk losing many of your plants.

After weeding, place an inch or two of mulch around your annuals or any other plants you intend to keep over the summer. The mulch will help hold in moisture.

Next, replace any remaining cool-season annuals with more suitable summer plants. With the sunshine and heat we experience in Southern California, April is the perfect time to incorporate the heat-loving plants. As temperatures increase, these plants will begin to thrive just in time for summer. Around mid-April, plant marigolds, amaranthus, petunias, Cosmos bipinnatus, salvia, verbena, Celosia spicata, and Eschscholzia californica.

This month is also the time to start your vegetable garden. Plant your beans, lettuce, radishes, beets, spinach, parsley, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, cucumbers, squash, basil, and catnip. If you plant any basic ornamental foliage like roses, trees, and shrubs, start them in April before the heat arrives.

After you’ve chosen and planted your April plant and foliage selection, focus on teaching your plant roots to grow deeply. This will help to lessen irrigation needs during the high heat of summer. If you have irrigation lines, make sure they are in place before the root systems become too large. Keep an eye on your newly planted plants until established. Prior to establishment, you’ll need to carefully water.

Continue to fertilize your plants throughout April, but don’t over-fertilize. April is also the time to start your pest and disease prevention. As the weather gets warmer, pests will become more of a problem. Visit your garden each morning and/or evening to treat as necessary. Pests can easily be dislodged with a strong blast of water. If you have snails, you’ll need to either hand-harvest or trap and collect to dispose.

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