I know, I know, it's been a beautiful March! A month ago I was telling people to try not to get excited about spring just yet, because in Calgary it's just too darn early to get excited.
And now looking back, I have to admit that I've been out and about already starting projects in the yard, and I am letting myself get a wee bit excited about spring... But I'm going to stick to my guns and continue to say - don't get your hopes up! Leave that mulch in place until the end of the month to insulate your plants and those sleeping ladybugs against our wild April temperature swings. If you don't believe me check these posts from April 27 2009 and April 24 2008.
So, here's my to-do list for April this year (modified from last year):
· Water trees, especially evergreens, if you haven't already done so.
Start seeds of fast-growing annuals. Some can be direct-seeded outside in May but I like to start them inside for earlier blooms. Annuals that don't like being transplanted (for example, poppies) should be direct-sown outside. Check your seed packages for instructions.
· Care for seeds already started in March. This means keeping them under fluorescent lights which are only an inch above the leaves, cutting them back to the first set of leaves to encourage branching, thinning, repotting and fertilizing. I also have an electric fan blowing on my seedlings to help them develop strong, sturdy stems.
Clean and fill bird baths.
· Take the kids to the garden center, let them pick out their favourite pansies, come home and help them pot them up. Put the pots on the front and back steps… because the pansies can take our spring temperatures and because it’s time for some colour out there, dammit!
Whenever I get the chance:
· Finish pruning trees and shrubs except birches, maples, roses and spring-flowering shrubs like lilacs.
· Sweep patios (mine get covered with spruce needles and cones over the winter – what I collect gets put in other areas of the garden as mulch).
· Rake debris from the lawn when it is dry enough to walk on (wet soil gets compacted and that’s a bad thing).
· Start pulling back winter mulch (leaves, in my case) from the crowns of growing perennials – but don’t actually remove it until May. This way the sleeping ladybugs don’t get disturbed too early, and the garden is still somewhat protected from the crazy temperature swings that we will inevitably get (see above)!!
Late April:Cut down any of last year’s perennials that are still standing.
Start seeds of the fastest growing annuals: sweet peas, nasturtiums, sunflowers and morning glory.
Set up rain barrels and check eavestroughs.
From the archives:
- an Easter idea
- what to do with Easter flowers
- when can I start planting vegetable seeds in Calgary?
- taking care of tomatoes
- veggies to sow in mid-April
- what is hardening off?