Tofino gardening in April
by Trina Mattson, Tofino
Not quite sure how it's become April so fast, seems like I was just standing in gardening thinking about all the stuff I have to do to get the garden ready for 2009. Oh wait a minute I was just standing in the garden looking it over and thinking time for a few major renovations, add a chicken coop for fresh eggs and manure, which is going to be used in the fruit garden we converted over from being both vegetables and fruit to just fruit, did some lasagna gardening, and no I didn't plant vegetables for making lasagna, I did some layering to inhibit weed growth in the fruit beds. So far, so good.
April is typically the month when gardening can become slightly overwhelming, if you already planted seeds, they are being transplanted outside, some more can be re-seeded directly outside, and some can be started inside, to be transplanted outside in May. If you are having problems growing root vegetables, try growing the same ones for the greens, like beet greens, or if your tomatoes are not ripening, grow a smaller variety, or a hanging basket tomato like a tumbler tomato.
Many vegetables come in patio size for the smaller planters, cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes, squash, even carrots, beans and peas. Other vegetables are also ready to be planted outside, seed potatoes, onions, asparagus, soft fruits, raspberries, blueberries, and grapes. Bring your Dahlia bulbs, and tuberous Begonias out of dormancy by planting and watering. Dig out dead and prune back damaged plants, transplant and plant new perennials, trees and shrubs to replace those that were lost over winter, or are tired looking, or if the garden needs a face lift. Pots and planters are being readied for annual bedding plants, and you are now starting to notice the weeds popping up in your gardens, lawns could probably use the first mow of the season, as well if you limed in February or March, fertilizer can be applied. Bulbs are really starting to pop up in gardens and pots, and so they could also use a shot of food as well. Ah why not, just give everything a shot of fertilizer, it probably needs it. And anyone who did lime their gardens in March, can now also fertilize after waiting for 3 weeks. Grass seed can also be sown now.
Perennials are now starting to put on buds for flowering, and many trees and shrubs are showing good signs of growth, finally. We are undeniably 1-2 weeks behind what was the norm. for gardens to be doing their thing. By the end of March we should have seen Forsythias in bloom, and when that happens it's time to prune roses. Flowering currants should be blooming and with them I always know the Hummingbirds are close, so get those feeders ready. Prunus Nigra should be bloomimg, as well as Clematis Armandii, and more Rhododendrons, these will probably all bloom even closer to April rather than Mid March because the weather was so cold. But April will also bring Hebe Patty's purple into bloom, Camellias, and Pieris to name a few.
We may actually have a Blooming Spring after all. Mulch the gardens with a compost mix, manure, or bark mulch depending on preference and what your garden needs now. Fish ponds have worked their way out of dormancy as well by now, and they can be given some food, both plants and fish. And if you think your garden is full and can't handle one more plant, try going vertical, or add some hardscaping, such as a statue, birdbath, or ornament for a bit of extra pop.
Watch the garden centers for some great, but they're not new products that are being revisited because of their ability to safely work in the garden, liquid gypsum softens clay soils, and can be sprayed directly on plants, and working both on the plant and root system, makes them grow and become healthier. Neem oil, which is used as a leaf shine, and although it is not advertised as a fungicide will help to keep black spot a bay, and is used especially by rose growers. Bat houses, want bats in your belfry, buy a bat house, these guys will keep the insects under control. And of course new and improved tools, coming in all colours and for every size hand.
If you truly want to be green, have a green thumb.
Trina Mattson runs the Ordinary Corner Nursery in Tofino.
Trina Mattson from the Ordinary Corner Nursery in Tofino shares her tips for gardening in Tofino in April 2009.