April Gardening Tasks

April 14th is National Garden Day!

  • Use a soil thermometer to help you know when to plant vegetables. Some cool Pansy_Redseason crops (onions, kale, lettuce, and spinach) can be planted when the soil is consistently at or above 40°F.
  • Spread compost over garden and landscape areas.
  • Prune gooseberries and currants; fertilize with manure or a complete fertilizer.
  • Fertilize evergreen shrubs and trees, only if needed. If established and healthy, their nutrient needs should be minimal.
  • If needed, fertilize rhododendrons, camellias, azaleas with acid-type fertilizer. If established and healthy, their nutrient needs should be minimal.
  • Prune spring-flowering shrubs after blossoms fade. Early-spring bloomers, such as lilac, forsythia, and rhododendron, bear flowers on wood formed the previous year. The best time to prune them is late spring — immediately after they finish blooming. If pruned later in the growing season or during winter, the flower buds will be removed and spring bloom will be decreased.
  • Fertilize cane berries (broadcast or band a complete fertilizer or manure).
  • Remove spent flowers of large-flowered bulbs, such as tulips and daffodils, as soon as they fade. This  channels the plants’ energy into forming large bulbs and offsets rather than into setting seeds. Allow foliage of spring-flowering bulbs to brown and die down before removing.  Do not remove bulb foliage while it is green; the green leaves nourish the bulb and next year’s flower buds, which form during summer. Cut or pull off leaves only after they yellow. Do not braid leaves to get them out of the way. Braiding reduces the amount of sunlight the leaves get and hinders growth.  Allow smaller bulbs (like: muscari and puschkinia) to set seed, so they self-sow and form ever-larger drifts.
  • Cut back ornamental grasses to a few inches above the ground, in early spring.
  • Prune and shape or thin spring-blooming shrubs and trees after blossoms fade.
  • Plant gladiolus and hardy transplants of alyssum, phlox, and marigolds, if weather and soil conditions permit.
  • Fertilize Lawns. Apply 1-pound nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn. Reduce risks of run-off into local waterways by not fertilizing just prior to rain. Also do not over-irrigate and cause water runs off of lawn and onto sidewalk or street.
  • April is a good time to dethatch and renovate lawns. If moss was a problem, scratch surface prior to seeding with perennial ryegrass.
  • If necessary, spray apples and pears when buds appear for scab. And spray stone fruits, such as cherries, plums, peaches, and apricots for brown rot blossom blight.
  • Plant balled-and-burlapped, container, and bare-root fruit trees.
  • Plant container and bare-root roses.
  • Prepare garden soil for spring planting. Incorporate generous amounts of organic materials and other amendments.
  • Divide and replant spring-blooming perennials after bloom.
  • Plant fall-blooming bulbs.

Article by:
Terra Gardens Nursery & Bark
Salem, OR

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Winter Gardening Chores

Here are a few thing you can do in the garden while waiting for spring to arrive….

  1. Check yard for damaged plants
  2. Check newly planted and newly staked trees to see if they are still stable
  3. Sharpen gardening tools
  4. Organize & clean greenhouse and/or garden shed
  5. Recycle pots you are not going to use in the spring (see AGC’s article on where to recycle pots in the Rogue Valley)
  6. Clean bird feeders and continue feeding wild birds
  7. Check stored fruits and vegetables
  8. Spray stone-fruit trees with copper or lime-sulfur
  9. Check yard and garden for drainage issues
  10. Check house, yard (and autos) for rodent activity
  11. Read gardening books
  12. Shop seed catalogs, and order your seeds for spring, summer, fall and winter planting

Sun, Shade, Partial Sun, Partial Shade – What does it mean?

Often these terms are confusing even for a seasoned gardener, so below are some 20170502_182451guidelines to shed light on the subject, and help you plant with confidence.

Full Sun: 6 hours of direct sunlight anytime during the day. It could even be 3 hour in the morning, then 3 more in the afternoon, but 6 hours total is the minimum.

Partial Sun: 3-6 hours of direct sunlight, but provide some relief from hot afternoon sunshine.

Shade: Less than 6 hours of sunlight, is considered a shady area.

Partial Shade: 3-4 hours of morning or early afternoon sunlight, then shaded or getting indirect light in the late afternoon.

Dappled Sun: Similar to partial shade, some sunlight makes it through the branches of deciduous trees.

 

Full Shade: Lessen than 3 hours of sunlight. Morning sunshine is the best, then receiving some dappled sun or filtered light during the day.

Shade Tolerant: Plant prefers more sunlight, but can be planted in partial shade. Possibly deceiving statement, because plant performance could be substandard if planted in partial shade.

 

Note:  Some plants listed for shade gardens in USDA Zones 7-8 may perform better in full sun in Zones 4-5.

Submitted by: Carlotta Lucas

 

 

 

The Beauty of Leaf Mold

Instead of carting off your tree leaves to the landfill, or recycling them in a yard debris bin, why not improve your soil by making leaf mold?  Leaf mold is made from decayed tree leaves;  it’s easy to make, it’s free and it improves your soil!leaf mold bin

How Leaf mold helps:

  1. Adds trace minerals to the soil
  2. Reduces rainwater runoff, and evaporation
  3. Retains moisture. Leaf mold hold 50% of it’s own weight in water
  4. Loosens compacted soils
  5. Cools roots and foliage during hot weather
  6. Improves habitat for soil dwellers, such as earthworms & beneficial bacteria
  7. As mulch it helps control weeds
  8. Saves you money by using less fertilizer and less water

Methods:

Build a 3-4 foot tall wire-fence enclosure, fill it up with leaves, add water, cover with cardboard, mix occasionally if you want to, but it’s not necessary and in two years the leaves break down into a rich brown weed-free mulch.

To speed up the process:  Place your wire bin in a semi-shaded area, shred your leaves, add some nitrogen like grass clippings, coffee grounds, or a 1/2 cup of high nitrogen fertilizer, like urea, then cover leaves with a piece of cardboard.
Note: If you don’t own a leaf shredder, then make a pile of leaves and run over them with your lawnmower several times. You should have leaf mold in 9-12 months.

You can also make leaf mold using large plastic bags. Fill large bags half full with leaves, add two cups of coffee grounds, or a ¼ cup urea fertilizer.  Wet leaves thoroughly.  Tie the top,  poke holes in the sides for lots of air flow.  Stack bags in warm location, shake occasionally to mix. You could have leaf mold as soon as 2 months.

After leaves have decomposed, incorporate your leaf mold directly into the garden soil, and/or mulch around your plants. You can also mix it with potting soil to use in container gardens.

Note: Do not use these Walnut, Eucalyptus, or Camphor Laurel leaves for leaf mold. They contain growth-inhibitors, and are toxic to other plants.

Oak leaves take longer to break down, so it’s best to shred them.

Composting guide:  http://compostguide.com/using-leaves-for-composting/

Step-by-Step Guide to Making Leaf Mold : http://making-mulch-from-leaves

Article by : Carlotta Lucas

November 11th: Garden Chores

  • Garlic:  Weather permitting, you still have a week, or two, to plant garlic.
  • Mulch around berry plants.
  • Drain watering systems.
  • Disconnect hoses from hose bibs to prevent hose bib ends from freezing.
  • Insulate outside faucets, if they are not frost-proof hose bibs.
  • Drain and store portable sprinklers, hose-end timers and hose-end sprayers.
  • Rake and destroy fruit tree leaves and fallen fruit to prevent the spread of disease.
  • Spray dormant oil on fruit tress to control overwintering insects and fungus.
  • Spray lime-sulfur of grapes, anytime from now to February.
  •  It’s a good time to plant new trees, fruit trees and blueberries.
  • Prune raspberries to 1 foot above wire, attach canes to wires.
  • Harvest fall crops.
  • Clean tools.