• Tisa Watts

Get Outside While the Getting Is Good!

Updated: Apr 20

April 3, 2020

Just when you think winter in Ohio will NEVER end, along comes a day like today. Sunny, warm, and just dry enough to turn over some soil. TODAY is a great day to tackle some garden tasks:

· Using a shovel or spading fork -- AND IF THE SOIL IS DRY ENOUGH TO CRUMBLE ON ITS OWN -- gently turn over the garden bed. Mix in a few inches of compost. If you lack fresh compost, use the potting mix from last year’s containers and/or turn under some shredded dry leaves or straw. It all helps to loosen the soil for young veggie roots.

· Now is the time to start your first batch of “cool-season” veggies. These are plants that actually do better outdoors in April than, say, July. And by first batch, I mean that you should leave a bit of room to plant more seeds of the same plants in about two weeks. This helps lengthen your harvest time at the same time it improves the likelihood of more plants surviving our unpredictable weather.

· Cool-season veggies include roots (beets, radishes, turnips), cole crops (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bok choy), spinach, kale, peas, and onions. I’ll plant seed potatoes in mid-April. Cool-season flowers include calendula, sweet peas, snapdragons, and larkspur. Some of these are available as transplants from local plant nurseries and backyard growers. Make sure they all get plenty of spring sunshine.

· Gently begin pulling away the winter detritus from around perennials, shrubs, and other landscape plants. I’m using a small rake to loosen the matted leaves but I’m not removing everything yet. I know we’re likely to get a few more deep frosts before May. I’m just letting my plants breathe and get some light.

· Pull weeds. Enjoy the sunshine and early bees while you’re down there. Know that every weed you pull today is equal to hundreds of weeds tomorrow and next year. After weeding, gently tamp down the disturbed area with your trowel or foot to help prevent other weed seeds from taking root.

'Shinko' buds in April 2020

That’s it. We’ll see a few days of lovely weather, but remember this is April in Ohio … where the season often changes six times a day. Plan for the worst, but hope for the best. Happy gardening!


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