Monthly Garden Calendar for Pacific Coast South United States

Organic Gardening Month-to-Month Almanac

By Anita Noone

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APRIL

April is the month when gardens are likely to be at their colorful best. Innumerable bedding plants, perennials, and landscaping plants are flowering now, and they may inspire you to plant during this spring planting season. Despite all of the full-grown plants you see at the nursery, don't ignore the seed rack. April's warm days will help you sprout seeds quickly and there's still a chance of rain.

Consider Azaleas. You can see many beautiful plants in bloom now, and like the camellias you saw in January and February, azaleas are dormant when they bloom. Now is a good time to transplant azaleas; after blooming they will develop new growth.

Wonderful Wisteria. These showy, fragrant vines are appealing throughout the year and are drought-tolerant once established. If you plant wisteria, be sure to put a sturdy support in place before the plant goes in the ground. Wisteria can get very big — and very heavy — in short order.

Poinsettia Power. If you have poinsettias in the ground, you should prune them down to two or three dormant buds this month or next. Look for the old wood on the stem and prune back to two joints above that wood. Abutilon and hibiscus are two other tropical shrubs that may be heavily pruned now to shape and renew them.

Orchard Opulence. Almond, apple, apricot, fig, grape, kiwi, jujube, nectarine, persimmon, plum, and pomegranate may all be successfully planted now. Carefully consider the growing habit and eventual height of the tree when choosing a site.

Search Tree Bases For Suckers. Use the edge of a sharp spade to knock off these bright green sprouts. If you do not remove them, they will weaken the tree and distort its shape.

Valuable Veggies. Beans, carrots, cantaloupes, corn, cucumbers, lettuce, summer squash, tomatoes and watermelon may be planted this month. Coastal and inland lows hovering around 50 degrees, and highs reliably around 70, account for the mix of both summer and winter vegetables. Consider what space you have and add sets or seeds of vegetables.

Buy Winter Annuals. Purchase snapdragons, primrose, stock, and the like only to quickly — and briefly — fill in a space in the border. The warm weather means these lovelies will bolt and set seed soon. Better to wait until next fall to plant them.

Time for Annual Planting. For the heavily irrigated border, try petunia, bedding begonia, coleus, impatiens, and asters. Less water is required for marigolds, sweet alyssum, portulaca, cosmos, and gloriosa daisy.

Natural Natives. Some natives are still blooming in gardens and undisturbed areas. This is a good time to visit parks and demonstration gardens to see native plants. If you have native plants that have bloomed, you can collect the seed now and keep it in a cool, dry place until next rainy season.

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