April in the garden

In Ashland, Oregon the last frost date is approximately May 15th.

Sow seeds in your greenhouse, or indoors,  for transplanting  after May 15th.
Basil, Cabbage, Peppers, Summer Squash, Winter Squash, Pumpkin, Tomato, etc.
Flowers;  Sunflowers, Cosmos, Marigolds , Zinnia, etc.

If the soil is not too wet, you can sow the following vegetables seeds directly into the garden. Once seedlings emerge protect them from spring frost.  Lettuces, Cauliflower, Spinach, Chinese Cabbage, Broccoli, Peas, Chard, Carrots, Turnips, Parsnips, Leeks, Kohlrabi, Beets, Radishes.

You can plant onion sets up until 4/15. And, you can still plant raspberries and strawberries plants.
Fertile flowerbeds, shrubs, trees and grass.
Start baiting for slugs, snails and earwigs.
Watch out for spittle bugs and aphids on your existing strawberry plants.
Watch out for aphids on all plants in the landscape.

  • Home remedy for Aphid Control: Mix a teaspoon of vegetable oil, a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid and a cup of water. Or, mix three tablespoons of liquid soap and a gallon of water. Spray to wet the entire plant thoroughly, particularly the undersides of leaves, because aphids must come into contact with the soap solution to be affected. After a few hours, wash off the oil and soap with a garden hose to protect sensitive plants. Repeat the application every few days as necessary.
  • Control spittle bugs by blasting spittle bug foam off plants with water. Repeat as necessary.

Pruning shrubs & trees should be completed by now!


Get Ready – Grow!

Seedlings in your Greenhousetwo true leaves

Start by:

  • Sanitizing your greenhouse shelves using 1 part bleach mixed with 9 parts water.
  • Clean trays and pots with this same bleach mixture.
  • Sweep floor and clean walls
  • Buy Seedling Mix – it’s not potting soil, it’s a soilless mixture for seed starting.
  • Assemble plant labels & permanent markers in your greenhouse.
  • Have your water source ready.

After you’ve sanitized  EVERYTHING!

Pre-moisten your seedling mix by pouring it into a bucket and adding water until it’s damp. Fill trays with pre-moistened seedling mix and water thoroughly.
Let trays sit a day in the greenhouse to warm up.

Start your seeds 8-12 weeks before the last frost date in your area.
In the Rouge Valley, Oregon the last frost is estimated to be May 15th.
Count backwards 8 or 12 weeks and plant seeds in your greenhouse.

Example: To plant by May 15th, then…

For 8 weeks: Plant seeds in the greenhouse by March 15th
For 12 weeks: Plant seeds in the greenhouse by February 15th

Be sure to read the seed packet instructions before planting.
These instructions tell you how deep to plant and long it takes for the seeds to germinate. And. it shows you what this seedling will look like when the seed sprouts.

By: Carlotta Lucas


Paper Cup Seedling Pots

Note: Use only unwaxed paper cups for your seedling pots, so they will decompose when planted in the garden later.

Start your seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost date in your location.

To get Started:

Buy seedling mix, or make your own [it’s cheaper] – See DIY: Seedling Mix Formula, on this Blog. Seedling mix is a soil-less mixture specifically made for sprouting seeds.
20160318_155511_resized_1Poke three to four holes in the bottom of each paper cup.

Fill each paper cup with seed-starting mix, leaving 1/2 inch of space below the top.

Plant two seeds in of each cup. Check seed packet for seed planting depth; each variety is different. Cover seeds with seedling mix.


Sit cups in trays, or boxes, water, then cover trays loosely with sheets of plastic wrap.

This helps keep moist and prevents mix from drying out.

Place in a warm location, after two days, start checking cups daily, water if

Remove the plastic wrap when most of the seeds have sprouted.

Place trays in a warm sunny indoor location. If placed next to a window turn trays regularly for equal sun exposure.

Water on a regular basis, but don’t over water.

two true leavesWhen plants have grown two true leaves, thin by snipping off the weaker plant in each cup.

After the last frost date in your area,  “harden off” your plants before planting

To Harden Off Plants:  Sit plants outside in a protected area for four hours, then bring them back inside. Increase “outdoor time “ by two hours each day. After a week of hardening off, you can plant the starts in your garden.


FEBRUARY: Getting the Greenhouse Ready

It’s time to get your greenhouse ready for planting! Carlotta's  Little Greenhouse

Start with cleaning the shelves using 1 part bleach mixed with 9 parts water.
Read eHow for tips on cleaning a small greenhouse:

Sterilize your trays & pots with this same bleach solution. Purchase or make your seedling mix (which is a soil-less mix), gather your plant labels & permanent markers and you’re ready to plant.

Read how to make your own soil-less seedling mix Organic Gardening website: http://organicgardening.about./seedstartingmix.htm

To calculate greenhouse planting start dates, check each seed packet and plant according to the instructions. Count back the weeks needed for seeds to grow and when you want them really for the garden club’s plant sale or to plant in your garden after the last frost.  Seeds typically need 8-12 weeks to grow. For example: AGC’s plant sale is May 11 2013, 12 weeks back from May 11th is February 16th, 8 weeks back is March 16th . Check your seed packets for start dates.

Below is a list of flowers you can start in your greenhouse in February: Petunias, Impatiens, Lobelia, Lupine, Echinacea, Rudbeckia, Coreopsis, Salvia, Lavender, Scabies, Delphinium, Pansies, Shasta daisy, Forget-me-nots, Gaillardias, and Nasturtiums.

You can also start: Cabbage, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, Beets, Lettuce, Cilantro and Spinach seeds. It is recommended for larger vegetable seeds, like beets, to soak them 12 to 24 hours before planting.

To begin: fill your sterilized trays with seedling mix, water the seedling mix thoroughly, and then let them sit until the next day to warm up.  On day two, plant your seeds, mark your trays/pots, then water them in.

Seeds need warmth to germinate. Check out Heirloom Seeds’ website showing seed germination/soil temperatures:

You can provide warmth with heating mats (available at garden supply stores) which sit under your seed trays or you can warm your greenhouse with a portable heater.

Some seeds also need light to germinate, so place trays a few inches below a grow light or a florescent light, and keep the lights on 24 hours a day.

After the plants have developed several sets of true leaves, transplant them into sterilized pots with a good garden variety potting soil.  To avoid transplant shock water them in with a B1 solution; B1 is available at garden stores. Once plants are established in their new pots, fertilize them once a week with a 1/4-strength water-soluble fertilizer. During the rest of the time use plain water; keep the seedlings moist, but not wet. Keep plants under the lights, keep them warm and watch them grow!

By: Carlotta Lucas & Melody Jones