Spring Garden Tips

April:
 

April is the time to get your gardens cleaned out!

  • Rake out the old leaves and put them in your compost pile.  They will add excellent organic matter to your compost. 

  • You should be seeing spring bulbs start to pop up: Daffodils, Crocus, Snowdrops, Allium and Tulip greens should be appearing.  Watch not to tear the new soft leaves with your garden rake!  Deer getting your Tulips?  Try using Deer Scram.  I relied on this product to keep deer away from my clients gardens when I owned my landscaping business.

  • Don't cut the dead-looking stems off of your Endless Summer Hydrangea or you will sacrifice early summer blooms.  Only cut stems if you know they are dead (brown and brittle all the way through the stem). 

  • Don't decide to finally prune your Forsythia bushes now or you will remove the blooms. 

  • Best time to prune flowering shrubs?  Right after they flower.  

Planting time: What? It's too early!  Well, it's not too early for peas! 

  • Peas can be planted as soon as you can work the soil in spring.  Plant in succession for continual harvest. 

  • Also in the vegetable garden, the garlic you hopefully remembered to plant last fall is showing signs of greenery. Did you forget?  I've done that too, then planted my garlic bulbs in late March/early April for successful heads of garlic come summer (though maybe somewhat smaller than usual). 

  • Lettuces and kale are also cool weather crops. 

May:

Those weeds are popping up everywhere, especially with all this wet weather.  Our favorite tools here at Daisy Hollow Farm are the saddle hoe and the soil knife!  

 

  • Deer problems?  Fencing them out of your gardens is a near fool-proof way of keeping them from munching your plants.  Check out my comprehensive list of deer resistant plants that I compiled during my 14 year tenure as a landscape designer.    

  • Prune your rose bushes down to the bright green on the lower stems of the plants.  Make sure you use clean shears and cut at a slight angle.  This will help prevent the spread of disease.  Also, it's always best to start with disease resistant varieties.   

Planting time: 

  • Think of your soil first...healthy soil = healthy plants.  Add plenty of compost to your gardens, then mulch with an organic bark mulch.  Be careful of dyed mulches, you may not know what's in the dye and it can leach into your soils.

  • Planting a continual succession of peas, lettuce, kale, and other cool season plants that are resistant to frosts can give a much longer harvest time.  

  • Now is a great time to divide hosta, peony, daylily, phlox, and many other perennials.  When transplanting peonies, it may take up to two years for the plant to bloom again, just be patient.  

  • Try not to work in the soil if it's too wet, you can harm the microscopic communities of organisms that make your soil healthy. 

  • It's also a great time to move small shrubs from one location to another (my favorite past time) and to plant trees, shrubs, and perennials. 

June:

It's planting out time!  Memorial Day is our frost free date for upstate NY.  Anytime after this we are pretty safe to plant out all of our bedding plants and vegetables, also annual seeds and seeds for the vegetable garden!

 

  • Tips for your vegetable garden:  When planting out green beans, stagger your plantings for a few weeks so you can have a longer harvest time.  Interplant vegetables that mature at different times and grow to different heights to save space in smaller gardens. For example, we planted our onion seeds right along with the lettuce!  The lettuce, a cool season plant which bolts in summer heat and gets bitter,  will be long gone before the onions really start to mature and take up space.  Just don't weed out your onions by mistake!

  • Plant marigolds and sweet allysum throughout your vegetable gardens.  This is not an old wives tale!  Allysum attracts good insects that will eat the herbivorous insects that are eating your veggies.  Marigolds are strongly scented and can confuse plant-eating pests.   Don't spray pesticides in your garden.  This kills the good bugs as well as the bad.  The bad bugs that eat your plants reproduce more quickly than the predator insects and will consequently do better in your garden resulting in more eaten plants.  

  • Mulch those gardens!  It will keep down weeds and help conserve moisture.  Most towns offer access to free woodchips, or you can call your local landscape company for a delivery of bark mulch.  It's way easier to keep up with the weeding than to fall behind and let the weeds take over.  The weeds will drop their seeds and then you'll have more weeds.  

Planting time: 

  • It's still a great time to move around perennials in your gardens as long as you water well.  Also, it's a good time to visit your local nursery to check out their flowering trees and shrubs.  We make it a point to plant at least one new tree a year.  Fruit trees may need a pollinator, so unless the tag specifies that it's self-pollinating, you'll need a pollinator.  

 

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