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!

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Gardening Tips

February:  Preparing to plant in the Rogue Valley

wet-soil

Soil: too wet

Grab a handful of your soil, if you can form it into a ball, the soil is too wet for planting and chances are the seeds will rot in the ground. Plant only when the soil crumbles and falls apart after you squeeze it.

Soil pH: Use a pH soil test kit to test your soil. Kits are available at most garden centers. If you soil is too alkaline, above ph7, then incorporate lime into your soil. Lime is best added in the fall, but you can still do this in early spring. Apply Lime early in February, then a week later add in fertilizer.  Both materials should be incorporated into the soil 6 to 8 inches. Wait at least a week after applying fertilizer before planting seeds.

More about modifying soil pH here…
http://www.sunset.com/garden/garden-basics/acid-alkaline-soil-modifying-ph

You can direct sow the following seeds in your garden mid-to-late February, if the soil is no too wet and temperatures are staying above 20 degrees!
Peas, non-enation resistant varieties
Early varieties radish
Spring Spinach
Fave beans
Mustard
Spanish Onions (the most common onion is the USA),

Sow the seeds listed below, indoors or in a greenhouse in February for transplanting into the garden in 6-8 weeks:
Lettuce
Cauliflower
Broccoli
Bok Choy
Pac Choi
Mustard
Cabbage
Kale
Leeks

Article by Carlotta Lucas
Reference: Gardening Year ‘Round, Month by Month in the Rogue Valley and environs, A guide for Family Food Production by the Jackson County Master Gardeners Association
Wet soil photo courtesy of The Sedgwick County Extension Master Gardeners’ Demonstration Garden, Wichita KS

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5 W’s for Fertilizing

                                                                    Article by Kelly Brainard, Owner Ashland Greenhouse

“There are always so many questions about fertilizing.  I would like to go over some of the basics, especially since early spring can be a key time for taking care of fertilizing needs. Always ask yourself:
The type of plant you are focusing on (perennials, annuals, vegetables, ect).
What type of fertilizer to use based on season and the plant(s) you’re fertilizing.
When do you apply fertilizer?  Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter?
Where is the best place to apply fertilizers?  Topically or to the root zone?
Why is this necessary?  What are the benefits of fertilizing?

Since we could write a book on everything mentioned above let’s keep it brief and relevant to what we should focus on in early spring.  This is a great time of year to focus on perennials.  Most perennials prefer a well-balanced or all-purpose fertilizer (all three numbers on the packaging are identical, i.e. 3-3-3 or 16-16-16).  Perennials fed in early spring develop strong root systems which in turn produces larger, healthier plants.  Apply granular fertilizers to the soil around the root zone.

For annuals that are tough enough to be outside early and continue blooming throughout the summer, like petunias and verbena, apply well balanced or slightly higher nitrogen fertilizers. This gives them an extra boost, encouraging growth.  You can successfully use either a granular or foliar fertilizer.  Foliar fertilizers tend to react faster than granules since they are taken up by the plant through the leaves but need re-application more often.  For annuals I like to use granular fertilizer applications in the spring and start using weekly or biweekly applications of liquid fertilizer in the summer. Remember as a rule of thumb – ALWAYS apply fertilizers in the morning. It is less stressful for the plants.

Vegetables are a completely different beast when it comes to fertilizing.  There are numerous techniques when it comes to fertilizing your vegetables.  If it’s grown for leafy greens then apply fertilizers heavier in nitrogen. If it’s grown for the fruit apply fertilizers heavier in phosphorous.  Nitrogen promotes healthy, green foliage and too much of it can discourage fruit development while phosphorous promotes bud and flower growth which encourages more fruit.

When in doubt about fertilizing don’t hesitate to ask a fellow gardener. Some of the best advice is the advice that we share with each other!”

Source: http://AshlandGreenhouses_April2014Newsletter