March brought record rainfall to many parts of Southern California--keeping gardeners out of their yards for many days. Now that April is here and the sun is shining, it's time to play catch-up. That means prepping soil, planting summer color and vegetables and revitalizing lawns, say experts at Agromin, an Oxnard-based manufacturer of earth-friendly soil products made from organic material collected from more than 50 Southern California communities.
Invigorate Garden Soil: Gardening in the same location over the years may mean your soil needs refreshing. Rotate your crops (i.e., plant tomato plants where peppers were grown last year) and this year introduce an organic soil blend into the garden specifically for vegetables followed by a two to three inch layer of mulch around plants. If a layer of mulch was not already covering your garden area, wet weather may have triggered weed growth. Pull new weeds and add a layer of mulch to keep the weeds in check.
Plant Your Vegetables: Now is the time to plant most all vegetables. Don't forget peppers. They are easy to grow, get fewer diseases than other vegetables, produce with less warmth and bear into fall. Southern California coastal area residents still have time to plant cool-season vegetables including lettuce carrots and radishes. For inland valleys, it's time for warm-season vegetables such as tomatoes, squash, corn, cucumber, melon, potatoes, sunflowers and zucchini.
Cover Lawn Bare Patches: Spring and fall are the two times of year to revive your lawn. Kentucky bluegrass and fescue will do well when started from seed. When using seed to cover bare patches, make sure the lawn is first mowed closely. Then apply grass seed and cover with a thin layer of lawn topper mix. Water twice a day for two weeks. New growth will begin in about three weeks. When you mow this spring and summer, consider leaving the small grass blades on the grass for a natural mulch.
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.
Plant a Kid-Friendly Garden: Make your garden a learning opportunity for kids. Most kids enjoy the wonders of watching vegetables grow and then eating them in a salad, vegetable dish or right off the plant. Ask your kids what vegetables they'd like to grow and let them help--planting, watering and harvesting.
Container Gardening: If you don't have backyard space for a garden, consider container gardening. Herbs, peppers, tomatoes, lettuce and eggplant can all be grown in containers. Also, community gardens, located in most cities, enable residents to plant vegetables in designated plots. They are perfect for apartment and condo dwellers.
For more gardening tips, go to www.agromin.com.
Labels: gardening tips for April, preparing soil for the garden, Southern California April gardening tips