Tofino gardening in April
by Trina Mattson, Tofino
Alright, is winter over already yet? I am so over the cold, the snow, the wet, and the wind, I am ready to bring on Spring. Mother Nature's idea of a joke, bring in the snow at the end of March just after the first day of Spring, and just as many plants have swelling buds and are ready to bloom. Stop the Madness!!!!
Onward and upward, breathe in, breathe out repeat as necessary. Keep pulling those annual weeds, and baiting for slugs. Right now all species of dicentra, (bleeding hearts) and hostas, lilies, iris's and many other plants are putting on some growth, and are a favourite treat. Get them before they do real damage, plus as they have already laid eggs, get the little buggers before they do real damage. Watch for early signs of aphids in the greenhouse, and in your houseplants. You can either spray with an insecticidal soap, this will kill on contact or shortly after, or use a strong jet of water from a hose or trigger sprayer this will help control them for a short time, but they will be back. Continue fertilizing, if you haven't already done so, and it's still time to lime the lawn. Actually liming of the lawn can be done as often as once a month to get rid of moss faster, or as often as you feel the need to, to help eliminate moss, more than once or twice a year, but don't over apply the quantity at any one given time. Any damage from winter weather to your conifers can now safely be pruned away. Get out those pots and planters, clean them up and out, and get ready for bedding plant season, but beware, if you are tempted to purchase your bedding plants early, like geraniums, lobelia, tomatoes etc. either put them in a heated greenhouse right away, about the middle of April when box stores bring them in or someplace fairly warm and very light. If you wait until at least the beginning of May, then an unheated greenhouse is okay, the first sign it's too cold is the reddening of leaves, and every year someone comes in and tells me they bought bedding plants and all the leaves have turned red, but why? Remember on average the temperature in either Port Alberni or Nanaimo is higher than here. They are also not subject to the cold rains we like to have in spring. And quite frankly the longer you wait for warmer weather, the better off many bedding plants do over the summer. Daffodils are up and blooming, as well as tulips, and many other rockery plants, give these pretty plants bulb food to help them stay pretty year after year. If you planted bulbs in pots , especially tulips, after they have finished blooming, move the pot someplace where you aren't tempted to water them over the summer, they really do like to stay dry when dormant. Plant your summer blooming bulbs, Begonias, Dahlias, Ranunculus, Gladiolus through April and May, basically April is a safe month to plant perennials, trees and shrubs, basically anything but bedding plants as well as seeds for vegetable crops and flowers. If you need to sow a new lawn or just want to patch up an existing lawn, the weather is still cool enough to do this, just remember to put extra out for the birdies, waiting for warmer weather like June through mid September is not advisable, lawn seed likes cooler temperatures to germinate.
As with hard goods there are so many new plants available this year, more colours, hardier, drought tolerant, shade loving, made for smaller garden plots and the list goes on and on. Many more varieties of edibles can be grown here on the coast are also more tolerant of cooler summers. And with the price of shipping and the cost of fuel, and also the knowledge of knowing exactly how your vegetables and fruits are being grown, the popularity of home grown vegetable plots are on the rise, and even a balcony can be home to tomatoes and potatoes, strawberries, cucumber and a large variety of herbs. This year even I am going to grow my potatoes in buckets. And our trial last year, with growing tomatoes right in the bag of soil, forget the planter, worked just fine and produced yummy tomatoes as well as cucumbers.
Now I can't remember where this recipe comes from but Thanks!
Recipe for potting mix
for vegetable containers: