• Plant Vegetable Garden in April for Spring Harvest
    Tuesday, March 30, 2010 at
  • Nothing tastes better than garden-grown tomatoes or fresh-cut basil. The time to plant summer vegetable plants is in April to assure a bountiful harvest by July and August, say experts at Agromin, an Oxnard-based manufacturer of premium, earth-friendly soil products made from recycled green materials from over 50 Southern California communities.

    Plant Your Vegetables: Plant most all types vegetables including tomatoes, squash, beets, corn, sunflowers, spinach, cucumber, melons, okra, peppers and zucchini. Plant either from seed or from starter plants. Before planting, revitalize your garden soil by adding compost especially designed for gardens.

    Rotate Your Crops: Maximize plant growth and health by rotating your crops (i.e., plant tomato plants where peppers were grown last year). Planting similar vegetables in the same location year after year pulls the same nutrients from the soil to feed the plants. Rotating crops to different locations in your garden means less stress on the soil. Crop rotation can also reduce the buildup of soil-based diseases and pests. Certain pests prefer specific types of plants. By rotating your crops, pests and diseases won't have easy access to the plants they prefer. Relocate crops at least 10 feet from their previous location.

    Plant Your Herb Garden: Basil, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, cilantro, thyme, chives, dill and tarragon are just some favorite, easy-to-grow herbs that should be planted in April. Be sure to pinch back flowers that bloom from the herbs to extend the harvest season.

    Color for Summer: Summer-blooming bedding plants should be planted in April. Annuals that bloom all summer include alyssum, bedding dahlia, gloriosa daisy, marigold, petunia, verbena and zinnia. Summer shade plants include begonia, forget-me-nots and impatiens. Bulbs planted last fall will begin growing in spring. Throughout spring and summer, remove dead flowers and brown foliage to build strength for new blooms.

    Pinch and Prune: Pinch back new growth on chrysanthemums and fuchsias to keep the plants bushy. Bougainvilleas also benefit from pruning to shape and restrain growth. Prune roses to where stems are at least as round as a pencil. Although not very attractive now, pruned rose bushes will be thick with leaves and in full bloom within a month

    Plant a Garden for FOOD Share: Grow potatoes, tomatoes, celery, onions, broccoli and citrus and donate your harvest to FOOD Share, the county's food bank. The effort is part of its Garden Share program (www.foodshare.com).

    For more gardening tips, go to www.agromin.com.

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