Northern & Central Midwest

April, 2004
Regional Report

Let's Plant!

Hooray! Planting time! It's time to put out asparagus and rhubarb as well as greens of all sorts, onions, peas, early potatoes, beets, carrots, and of course the cole crops like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. Be sure to mark the calendar and sow greens every two weeks for continuous harvest.

Cool-Season Annuals Can Go Out

Harden off your cool-season annual flowers so they can go out in the garden in early April. This includes snapdragons, English daisies, baby-blue-eyes, forget-me-nots, stocks, primroses, browallia, lobelia, pansies, and violets. Take the plants outdoors for an hour the first day and put them in a protected spot. Increase the time and exposure daily.

Plant Roses and Grasses

April is the month to plant roses and ornamental grasses. Choose your site carefully to make sure you have plenty of sun and good drainage. Carefully adjust the plant in its new hole to be at the same depth as it was in the pot, put the same soil back in the hole, and water it well. Don't fertilize in spring.

Stake Perennials Early

Put your peony rings and plant stakes in place now or it will be almost impossible to do it later as the spring progresses. One of the most attractive staking systems is to use twiggy branches from trees and shrubs and insert them in the ground near the perennial crown. As the plant grows and engulfs the branches, the stakes disappear.

Gradually Move Houseplants Outdoors

Houseplants are ready and waiting to be hardened off for outdoors. Start taking them out when the days are warm, but bring them back in at night until the temperatures remain above 50 degrees. If we have an early spring, they may be able to remain outside before you know it.

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