Monthly Garden Calendar for Florida

Organic Gardening Month-to-Month Almanac

By Andres Mejides



April is a wonderful month in South Florida. The days are (usually) warm but not hot, and the nights are cool. It's a great time for picnics and hikes—if the "skeeters" aren't out yet. You can get a lot of gardening done without working up too much of a sweat.

Many of our trees do a major leaf change now. One of these trees is weeping fig, whose leaves are smaller than those from other fig species growing here. Small leaves compost easily and tend to make a better mulch, too. And the wind doesn't scatter them as easily as it does those of the larger-leaved species.

Be sure to take some time to enjoy all the trees that bloom this month. My favorite is the jacaranda, a great landscaping tree. Not as messy as the royal poinciana (okay, not as showy either), and it has multi-colored blooms.

Landscaping Aventure. April is a good month for major landscaping changes. Neither you nor your plants will have to deal with the heat of summer. Rain is not dependable this month so be sure to monitor for water needs.

Need Compost? Do you need to replenish the layer of compost or mulch on your garden beds? You should have no trouble finding dry matter in the form of leaves. The grass is growing too, so there's your green matter!

Got Grasshoppers? Did you put out grasshopper bait in February or March? If not, keep your eyes and ears open for these voracious pests. At the adult stage, the 2-block method works best. You know, get 2 blocks of wood and bring them together quickly with the grasshopper in-between!

Fig Tip. If your edible FIG is just breaking dormancy, snip off a growing tip about the size of a pencil. Place it in a container cut side down, put some finished compost around the cut end and then top off the container with good soil.

Order Up! Have you ordered your fall garden vegetable SEEDS yet? I used to put it off until summer but many times the companies were out of the varieties I wanted. If you can't store them properly, ask the companies to delay shipment until late summer or early fall. And if what you want isn't available organically grown, at least specify that you want untreated seed only, and no genetically modified plants or seeds.

Seed Starting. Start seeds of warm season plants such as PAPAYA, marigolds, malabar spinach, cosmos, OKRA, salvia, COLLARDS, vinca, CROWDER PEAS and morning glories.