What To Do In Your Garden In April [Planting Guide]

What To Do In Your Garden In April [Planting Guide]

It’s April, and that means in most USDA gardening zones, there’s lots of work to be done!

 

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We’re in Zone 7, so we’ve already set out our cool weather crops, and by the first week of April, we’ll be ready to start harvesting our first veggies of the season!

 

This article is broken down by zones to make it easier for you to know exactly what you should be doing in April in your garden.

 

If you’re not sure what zone you live in, you can check that here.

 

Here’s what you can do in your garden right now!

 

Zone 3

 

Zone 4

 

Zone 5

  • When the weather is mild and soil warm enough, transplant early tomatoes outdoors, inside hoop houses
  • Sow a second planting of lettuce, radishes, and spinach outdoors.
  • Continue to grow squash, melons, tomatoes, peppers cucumbers, and corn indoors and under lights.
  • Plant fruit trees.
  • Start herbs such as basil, thyme, and mint

 

Zone 6

 

Zone 7

  • Thin greens and radishes as needed.
  • Plant fruit trees.
  • If purchasing transplants, choose compact plants that have not begun to flower.
  • Remove row covers from peas as long as the weather is mild.
  • Transplant broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower
  • Mulch around cool-season crops to retain moisture and keep roots cool as weather warms.
  • Start cucumber, cantaloupe, summer squash, and watermelon indoors and under lights.
  • Now is the time to start luffa.
  • Set out transplants of tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and sweet potatoes.
  • Set out culinary herbs
  • Prune peach trees.

 

Zone 8

 

Zone 9

  • Plant heat-loving pumpkins, squash, melons, peppers, sweet potatoes, and eggplants
  • Every 2 weeks, succession plant bush beans and corn.
  • Continue to plant cool weather crops until the end of the month
  • Transplant tomatoes and peppers.
  • Continue to plant culinary herbs

 

Zone 10

  • Harvest spinach, lettuce, and broccoli.
  • Plant heat-loving pumpkins, squash, melons, peppers, sweet potatoes, and eggplants
  • Be sure to add lots of compost to your soil if it’s sandy and lacking nutrients

 

I’d like to hear from you!

What do you think you’ll plant in April? Leave a comment below!

What To Do In Your Garden In March Zones 3-10! [Planting Guide]

What To Do In Your Garden In March Zones 3-10! [Planting Guide]

March is one of the best times to start getting your hands dirty in the garden, and I’ve created these “to do” lists by USDA planting zone to get you in the garden and enjoying spring!

 

The weather in your area is likely starting to warm up a bit, and now is a wonderful time to get your seedlings prepared to grow.

 

Click here for the exact seeds we use on our homestead!

 

When starting your garden, the very first step is to garden based on the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone that you reside in.

 

With this information, you can easily determine which plants will thrive in your area, and which ones may require some additional work to keep healthy (such as a greenhouse or cold frames).

 

The activities in this article will focus primarily on zones 3-10, as these zones cover approximately 99% of US gardeners.

 


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Zone 3

Even though it’s probably still a bit chilly in your area, there’s lots you can do. Start planting your onion, tomato, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprout seeds under lights. (For a detailed article about how to do that, click here).

 

If you’re planning to grow flowers (we are!) now is the time to plant stored bulbs in pots and get them under lights.  

 

Outside, you can prune overgrown shrubs (but avoid shrubs that flower in spring – otherwise you might not get any flowers at all).

 

Zone 4

Now is the time to start all of the veggies listed above PLUS your pepper, and eggplant seeds indoors under lights.

 

If you’ve had any fruit trees effected by fire blight (a bacterial infection in fruit trees) now is the time to prune them back to prevent further spread of the disease.

 

Make cuts 1 foot below the diseased area, and make sure to disinfect your pruning shears between cuts with a 10% bleach solution to prevent further spread of the disease.

 

Zone 5

If you plan to include marigolds in your garden this year to prevent pests, now is the time to start them indoors under lights.

 

You can also start your tomato, pepper, and eggplant seeds indoors under lights. As your tomato seedlings grow, you’ll need to transplant them into larger pots. Make sure to bury the stems deep when you transplant so they develop a good root structure!

 

If they’re tall enough at the end of March, you can transplant them outside, making sure to bury the step deep again, keeping 1-2 inches of plant above the soil line. Before transplanting put some compost in the hole to promote growth.  

 

At this time, you can begin planting potatoes, peas, lettuce, radishes, and carrots in your vegetable garden outside, making sure to use cold frames to protect against any unexpected frosts..

Trim back dead or damaged branches from trees, shrubs, and roses.

 

Zone 6

So long as the weather is mild, you can start planting your roses, trees, and shrubs.

 

March is a good time to plant your tomato, pepper, and eggplant seeds indoors under lights. If you’ve already started broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower, they can be moved outdoors to a protected area, or under a cold frame.  For a detailed article about how to do that, click here.

 

Plant your potatoes as soon as the garden soil is workable or in containers in a protected area.

 

Zone 7

In more milder areas, you can plant your hardy vegetables around mid-month.  Carrots, beets, kohlrabi, radishes, leaf lettuces, and turnips all love cooler weather, and will grow well as long as they’re properly watered.

 

Around this time, you can also plant Swiss chard (we like the rainbow variety packs). Late spring, tender stalks will be ready to harvest and the plants will keep producing all summer – and your rabbits & goats will thank you! (I don’t personally like Swiss chard, but they do!)

 

Transplant onions, shallots, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, white potatoes and asparagus crowns to the garden. You can also place your herbs out, such as rosemary, chives, and thyme, making sure to bring them indoors if in pots or cover them if the weather suddenly turns too chilly.

Zone 8

Don’t hesitate in getting your cool-season crops into the garden as soon as possible – if you end up waiting too long, it will quickly become too hot for them. That being said, the nights can still end up getting rather chilly, so make sure to have row covers or windbreaks on hand.

 

You will also want to start planting the last of spinach, turnips, mustard, beets, carrots, and broccoli early in March for an earlier harvest than the other zones. Nothing is worse than planting these vegetables only to have them turn bitter!

 

By mid-month, you can start planting corn, tomatoes, squash, peppers, and cucumbers.

 

Zone 9

Like zone 8, zone 9 is also quite a warm one. Get started with cabbage, broccoli, spinach, radishes, Asian greens, lettuce, and parsley as soon as possible.

 

Once the threat of a late freeze has passed, move your tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants outside under a cover or in a cold frame. Prune away frost-damaged areas on citrus, and feed your roses with an organic blend of cottonseed meal, alfalfa meal, and composted manure.

 

Zone 10

For this very warm region, how is the time to start okra, sweet potatoes, mustard, collards, cucumbers, and melons. Side dress new plants and trees with compost.

 

I’d like to hear from you!

Which zone do you live in? What will you start to grow this March?

10 Strategic Tips for Choosing the Best Perennial Plants for Your Garden

10 Strategic Tips for Choosing the Best Perennial Plants for Your Garden

Spring is here….and like everyone, we’re not just planting vegetables, but we’re looking to establish permanent flower beds to liven up duller parts of the homestead.

 

I don’t exactly have the greenest thumb out there, and perennials certainly aren’t my area of expertise, so I’ve invited my friend Valerie of Aspiring Homemaker to tell us how to choose perennials that are best for our gardens!

10 Strategic Tips for Choosing the Best Perennial Plants for Your Garden

 

Pouring over the pages of a nursery garden catalog, looking for the best perennial plant is one of my favorite things to do.  I believe most gardeners enjoy this dreaming and planning stage.

 

But wait.  Before you go out and buy, or order that perennial plant that seems to be calling your name, there are some things to consider.  

 

Rushing into it without thought, mostly likely will not get you the best perennial plant for your garden situation.  At best, you won’t be thrilled with your purchase, and worst case it might die, thus wasting your money.

What should I consider when buying a perennial plant?

 

Grab a notepad and pencil, or whatever you prefer to take some notes.  Answer the following questions on your notes.  Your answers will help guide you to find that perfect perennial plant for your garden.  One that you’ll love and that works with the overall landscape.

 

  1.  Do you have a specific location in mind, that you plan to grow your perennial plant?  

If you don’t, then you need to find a place that you desire to plant.  That is your number 1 question to answer.  It’ll be difficult to proceed without knowing that.

 

  1.  Is your location in full sun, shade or partial sun?

Pay attention to the sun pattern as well.  Will there be morning sun, or afternoon? Are there any trees that when leaved out, will block the sun.

 

Sometimes this can throw a gardener off in the planning.  An area will technically be in full sun, but as deciduous trees grow the condition turns to full shade.

 

  1.  Is the area near a southern exposure wall or other structure?  

This could make this area especially hot.  Some plants will not be able to successfully endure there.

 

  1.  Is there any other special conditions that might cause potential problems?  

Look around the location again.  If so, write it in your notes.

 

  1.  What is your soil type?  Do you have clay, sand, rich loamy soil?  

Before you plant your perennial, you’ll want to amend the soil to its ideal condition.  Nearly all plants need well drained soil.

 

  1. Is your potential plant location in the front of a bedding area, middle ground, or towards the back?  

You don’t want to place a low growing plant in the back of a flower bed.  It won’t be seem.  Similarly, you wouldn’t want (in most situations) to plant a large perennial in the front of the area.

 

The general pattern for best viewing is the largest plants in the back, creating a beautiful dramatic backdrop.  Your middle sized plants throughout the center areas.  Lastly the low growing plants in the front where they will be seen.

 

  1.  What plants are closest to the planting area?  

Write those down, and if they are blooming perennials, jot down the color of the flowers.  Make notes of everything to keep in mind regarding design.

 

  1.  What time of year do you want your perennial plant to bloom?   

Too often, this is sorely overlooked when planning perennial gardens. There will tend to be a rush of color when everything is in bloom for a short period of time; then nothing the rest of the year.  Write in your notes when the majority of your plants will be in bloom, particularly those nearest your planting location.

 

The exception to this would be if you intentionally want that big blast of color when everything is blooming at once.  Some gardeners will plant in a mono-color themed garden.  These are examples of intentional garden design, which can be very beautiful.  

 

  1.  Do you have spring bulbs planted in the area that are forgotten about?  

Many times when we think of an area we’d like to add a perennial to, the spot looks bare.  However, it might not truly be.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done this.  I’ve dug the hole to plant my new plant, only to realize I had spring flowering bulbs already there.

 

In this case, perhaps a decorative short, ground cover would be a good option.  It would fill the barren look, yet the spring bulbs can easily grow up through it.

 

  1.  What is your plant hardiness zone?  

This will tell you which plants can survive the climate you live in.

 

Summarize your perennial plant notes

 

Look carefully at the data you’ve written down.  There should be some key answers popping out to you.  Some of this information might actually be quite enlightening to you.

 

It may help your plant shopping process to briefly summarize your bottom line notes.  For instance, you may realize you need a tall perennial plant that needs full sun or at least afternoon sun.  It would need to be able to grow in sandy soil.  You decide that you need a plant to bloom in April, or at least have interest at that time of year.  You know your plant hardiness zone.

 

Now you can shop.  Look for plants that fall into your parameters.  You might discover perennials you had never considered before.  Consider plants that are perennial in nature, but perhaps you hadn’t really considered them in that light before.  Examples might be ornamental grasses, bulbs, small bushes, plants in which the foliage is the main attraction.

 

By shopping for perennials in this way, you are sure to find the best perennial plant for your garden.  It’ll be one that works for your situation, and your plant will have the best chance of thriving.

 

By Valerie Garner.  Check out my lifestyle blog at Aspiring Homemaker, you might enjoy the post Poisonous Plants and Children – Symptoms and Tips to Stay Safe.  You might consider following me on Pinterest.  Happy gardening!

 

I’d like to hear from you!

Which perennials are your favorite? Leave a comment below!

How to Start a Garden When You Don’t Have a Green Thumb

How to Start a Garden When You Don’t Have a Green Thumb

Want to plant a garden, but think you have a brown thumb (I’m raising my hand)?

I’ve invited my friend Mary Jane to show you how easy it is to start your spring garden – and be successful at it! (want to get a great price on seeds? Click here to visit Seeds Now to get everything you need for spring!)
Take it away, Mary Jane!
Thinking about starting a garden this spring? Fortunately, it’s the perfect time to prepare for the upcoming growing season!
There are a few key steps you can take right now to give yourself the best chance when you start a garden. With just a little bit of thoughtful planning, you’ll be on track for an abundant harvest even if you’ve never grown a garden before.
How to Grow A Garden Even If You Don't Have A Green Thumb
Before you start to plan out your new garden, it’s important to get clear on your reasons for growing a garden, as well as considering the environmental factors in your area.
Then you’ll want to make sure you choose the right crops to support your goals and get a good start planting your garden outdoors.
(I’ve put together a free 14-page Garden Planner to help you through the steps in this post. You can download the planner here.)

Set Your Goals for Your Garden

 

The very first step in starting any garden is to set mindful goals.
It’s easy to want to grow absolutely everything you can think of in your first year gardening, but that can lead to an overwhelming amount of work (and a frustrated gardener)!
You’re much better off to thoughtfully consider what you’d really like to achieve with your garden. 
Perhaps you feel it’s very important to grow some fresh produce for your chickens? Maybe you’d like to grow enough tomatoes to make a years worth of salsa?
Or perhaps you’re hoping to enjoy fresh garden salads with your dinner every evening? (Go here for some great salad green seeds!)
Whatever your vision of a successful garden is, it’s incredibly important to clarify your goal before you start planning and planting.
Think about what success looks like for you. Everything you grow should directly support your goals. There should be a mindful reason for every plant in your garden.
How to grow a garden even if you don't have a green thumb

Get Some Support From Experienced Gardeners

 

When you have a general idea of your goals for the garden, it’s time to gather support systems that you can call on during the gardening season.

Having help from experienced gardeners while you start your garden is very valuable.

 

CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE THIS ARTICLE!

Leafy Greens For Healthy Hens! [Podcast]

Leafy Greens For Healthy Hens! [Podcast]

Leafy greens are some of the healthiest “treats” you can give your backyard chickens.

 

And now is the perfect time to start them!

 

(Want my favorite leafy green seed package for chickens? Click here to grab the exact one I use!)

 

 

While I don’t personally like leafy greens too much, my hens gobble them up whenever we throw some bunches into the coop. 

 

Greens are also easy to grow, and an easy way to save a bit of money.

 

In this episode, we discuss several varieties of leafy greens that are perfect for your hens.

You’ll learn:

    • How to grow spinach, lettuce, kale, and more!
    • When to transplant them
    • Just why they’re so great for your fluffy butts