April Garden Calendar

HOME (Indoor plants and activities)

Start seeds of warm-season plants (including tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, marigolds, zinnias, and petunias) indoors for transplanting later to the garden.

Harden off transplants started earlier in spring before planting outdoors – gradually expose the young plants to outdoor conditions of wind, brighter sunlight, and lower moisture.

Apply fertilizer to houseplants according to label directions as days grow brighter and longer and new growth begins. Foliage plants require relatively high-nitrogen fertilizer, while blooming plants thrive on formulations that are higher in phosphorus.

Keep Easter lily in a bright, cool location, out of direct sunlight. Water as soil begins to dry. You can remove the yellow, pollen-bearing anthers inside the flower by pinching to prevent staining the petals.

YARD (Lawns, woody ornamentals and fruits)

Plant a tree in celebration of Arbor Day, April 27. You should plant bare-root stock before new top growth begins. You can plant balled and-burlapped and containerized stock later in spring.

Complete pruning chores – remove dead and injured branches first.

Apply a prebloom, multipurpose orchard spray to fruit trees.

Remove winter coverings from roses, but keep mulch nearby to protect them from late freezes. Prune and fertilize as needed.

Apply pre-emergent herbicide to control crabgrass in lawns. Approximate application dates are late March to mid-April in southern Indiana and mid-April to early May in northern Indiana. Exact timing varies each year with weather conditions. For more precise application timing based on Growing Degree Days (GDD), visit Michigan State University’s GDD Tracker. Enter your zip code and select “Crabgrass Pre.” The target GDD window for crabgrass prevention is 250-500.

GARDEN (Flowers, vegetables and small fruits)

Plant seeds of cool-season crops directly in the garden as soon as the soil dries enough to be worked. When squeezed, soil should crumble instead of forming a ball. Cool-season crops that can be direct-seeded include peas, lettuce, spinach, carrots, beets, turnips, parsnips and Swiss chard.

Plant transplants of cool-season crops, such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi and onions.

Plant or transplant asparagus and rhubarb crowns. For best plant establishment, do not harvest until the third year after planting.

Plant sections of certified, disease-free potato “seed” tubers.

Allow the foliage of spring-flowering bulbs to remain in place after blooms fade. Leaves manufacture the food reserves, which are then stored in the bulb for a repeat showing next year.

Plant hardy perennials, such as daylilies and delphiniums.

Start tuberous begonias and caladiums indoors for transplanting to garden later.

Remove winter mulch from strawberries, but keep mulch handy in case late frosts are predicted and to help keep weeds under control.

Plant or transplant strawberries, raspberries, and other small fruit.

Prune grape vines to remove dead or weakened limbs and to thin as needed.

Repair support trellises as needed.


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