April To Do List - Part Two

You can always tell when we are in the heat of the season because my list of chores is more than I can fit into one week’s column.  Last week we touched on roses, lawns, pruning and assessing winter damage and if you happened to miss it you can go to our website at www.sunnysidenursery.net where all of my columns are archived and searchable by various topics.  Now on to the rest of the list. 


This is an ideal time to dig and divide perennials and plant new ones as well.  Perennials are mostly tough as nails and will take quite a lot of abuse as long as they don’t completely dry out.  Use an old kitchen knife or garden spade or fork to separate them or for the really tough jobs a Sawzall.  For a little extra insurance I like to soak the plants in a solution of Liquinox Start. 


I can tell by the attendance of our recent early season veggie class that there is a huge interest in growing our own veggies this year.  It’s easy to do as long as you make sure you have a healthy soil with lots of compost and organic fertilizer.  April is the month to plant potatoes, carrots, peas, radishes, onions, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower and any of the perennial veggies like artichokes, asparagus and rhubarb.  


Blueberries, raspberries, black berries, strawberries, grapes, kiwis, currants and gooseberries can be planted almost any time but the earlier the better.  Remember, these are permanent plants so it is especially important to use some compost and organic starter fertilizer when planting. 


This gets tricky because by now nurseries have planted up all their bareroot fruit trees into pots and in a perfect world it would be best not to disturb them until they have rooted in which can take a couple of months.  But since most gardeners won’t wait that long just realize that when you remove your tree from its pot most if not all the soil is going to fall off the roots so it is imperative that you get it into the hole and covered up as fast as possible. 


Summer blooming bulbs are now in stock such as dahlias and gladiolas and lilies and can be purchased and planted this month.  In the case of dahlias I like to drive in a stake next to the tuber at the time of planting so I don’t accidentally stab it later.  If you like Gladiolas but they get too tall for your garden try the dwarf Glamini varieties which stay under 24 inches tall and don’t need staking.    


Most weeds can be controlled without the use of toxic chemicals.  Hoe them when they are still young and tender and cover the soil with a half inch of compost and that should do it except for the perennial ones that will come back from the roots.  You might need to play hard ball with them. 


In addition to our Saturday classes we have something new for this spring called Demos with the Dirt Divas at Sunnyside Nursery.  Every Sunday at 11am and 1pm you can enjoy a short presentation on repurposed planters, ideas for your yard and ways to use the bounty from your garden.  Come gain inspiration, knowledge and perhaps a delicious treat all for FREE! 

Steve Smith is owner of Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville and can be reached at the nursery at 425-334-2002 or email at info@sunnysidenursery.net