Tofino Gardening in April
by Trina Mattson, Tofino
Maybe if I say it again, and if everyone closes there eyes and wishes really hard, Spring Will Come! Good bye March weather, and you know I'm used to it, but come on enough is enough. Bring on Spring, the back warming sunshine, the flowering trees and shrubs, the smell of fresh new lawn, warmer, drier weather, hummingbirds, I'll even take a slug or two, you know small ones that don't like to eat my favorite plants. I wonder if you can genetically modify a slug to eat weeds, dandelions, chickweed, horsetail, this could be a good thing. Okay enough sulking about the weather and such.
In April the Camellias, Daffodils, Tulips, Magnolias, forget me nots, aubrieta and primroses to name a few should be bringing in some colour and scents to our lives, although there are so many to list and this is really the start of the flowering plant season, and lets not forget the flowering currants as well, I usually mark their blossoming time with the arrival of the first spring hummingbirds, so get those feeders ready to put out. Try and get them in as good as shape as possible, I replace my florets and bee guards every few years, to keep them clean and fresh, and if you are having problems cleaning the inside of your feeder try putting in some salt ( as an abrasive) and just a drop or two of warm water, and swish it around, the salt should clean the sides to sparkling, just remember to rinse the feeder in hot water several times to get all the salt out.
Summer blooming perennials should be starting to come out of dormancy by now, and it's time to be planting those summer blooming bulbs like Gladiolus, Dahlias, Tuberous Begonias, and such. Starting seeds can also be done--tomatoes, cucumbers, corn and such--and the weather is fine for any transplanting that you want to be doing. Fertilizer is definitely on my list of to dos, and I'm going to be generous, some for everyone, come on plants lets have a party, food for everyone. I got my fertilizer down on the lawn, just before the rains came so now I'm going to lime and get rid of the moss.
This is a great time to be planting those trees and shrubs that you've been putting off, get their roots established before the summer heat comes. As your Tulips and Daffodils start to die back, cut of the seed head, but leave on the greens and tie them up nicely, let them naturally die back, and once the leaves have turned brown and withered then cut them off.
Couple new products to let you in on, one is a liquid bonemeal. When planting, put down granular bone meal, so as the plant grows and the bonemeal breaks down, the nutrients slowly become available. By giving an extra boost of a liquid bonemeal, the nutrients are available immediately, giving the plant a better, and healthier chance. Glacial rock dust is available in a dust form, and has many micro nutrients available for plants, most of which are not available from regular fertilizers. It's an organic product and very easy to apply.
As weeding season approa-ches don't forget to do a few simple stretches before you tackle to vigorous a day, weeding uses many muscles that we don't normally use. I would love to get a massage after every weeding session, but this is not always available.
I hope you're ready for another gardening year as I'm sure the slugs and bugs are lined up at the starting gate just ready to chomp on your hard work. Ready, set, GO!!!!
Trina Mattson runs the Ordinary Corner Nursery in Tofino.