April showers may bring May flowers, but your garden could probably still use your help. Here’s a quick checklist of things you can be doing now to get things growing.
1. Uncover your garden beds from fall, dig up the soil, break up large clumps, and turn under crops you planted in the fall. Use a rake to level out the height. To sterilize the soil, recover beds with black plastic for up to three weeks.
2. Begin planting bulbs as soon as the ground is no longer frozen.
3. Sow herbs around the border of your garden. Good choices include parsley, dill, chives, thyme, marjoram, and sage.
4. Plant trees and shrubs now, so they look their best to come summer.
5. Prune grapevines, fruit trees, and anything else that requires pruning now.
6. Start summer vegetables indoors so they’ll be ready to transplant in a month or two.
7. Dig up any good compost from the bottom of your pile. Mix it with soil to cover your beds. Chop up the remaining compost and turn it over.
8. Many early spring vegetables and flowers can be sown now, including lettuces, spinach and other greens, as well as snapdragons phlox, poppies, verbena, asters, pansies, and many more. Start planting marigolds about halfway through the April.
9. Pull up any perennials that didn’t survive the winter. Move plants that aren’t doing well to better locations.
10. Prepare for pests. Take precautions against slugs aphids, mildew, blackspot and other attackers now, before they become a problem. For tips on getting rid of common garden pests, click here.