Garden, Plant, Cook!

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

April Planting Tips

Dear Folks,

Spring is just a day or so away.  Here in the Valley of the Sun we don't meander into spring - temperature wise - as much do a standing broad jump - right over the moderate temperatures (70s to 80s), but more like 70s to 90s - in about 2 weeks.

I mention this because whatever you want to plant that is not a high heat-lover needs to go in NOW!  Asking your young plants to manage both putting down roots and high air temperatures is stressful to the plants.

Meanwhile my garden is just lovely to sit out and enjoy.  Pictured above is the gorgeous and edible purple Stock Flower (Matthiola incana), a member of the broccoli family this flower has a lovely scent, is edible and you can add the young tender leaves to salads.

The Nasturtiums are all over the place and I particularly enjoy this variegated variety.

My Johnny JumpUp Lawn is filling in.  We can sit on the patio and these happy faces "smile" back at us.

And our orange trees are covered in blossoms.

This winter for all of its cold and wet has apparently done wonders to our fruiting trees.  They are all a little "behind" but my gosh, when they get going. . .

Time to adjust your watering timing if you use automatic watering as we do.

Below is a watering schedule I suggest - it is only a guide not a bible

As the temperatures rise, a guide (this is only a guide!) For mature gardens would be:

  70s water every 5-6 days for all but trees
  80s water every 4-5 days for all but trees
  90s water every 3-4 days for all but trees
  100s water every 2-3 days for all but trees


I do have some LARGE containers and a raised bed.  They are watered every two days in the summer and every 3 days in the winter.

If you have to use small containers, snug them all together, to minimize the heat impact on most of the exterior surfaces.


Artichoke, Jerusalem
Bean, Snap
Beans, Soy
Garlic, Green
Melons, Musk
Onion, Green
Peas, Sugar
Peas, Black Eyed


Impatients Wallarana
Marigolds, including Tangerine Scented (Tagetes Lemonii), Citrus Scented (Tagetes Nelsonii)
Scented Geraniums
Sweet Alyssum

    Prune spring-flowering shrub fruit trees before flowering starts (April - May for shrubs like Pineapple Guava).
    If you planted your potatoes January 1st you can start checking the end of this month for usable size — just insert your fingers gently into soil.

    You can prepare a bed or area for Sweet Potatoes -- I have used the same bed to grow the Irish Potatoes - harvest them in April/May and plant the Sweet Potatoes to be harvested in the Fall.  If you have limited space this is a great workable option.
    Get the children involved in gardening by helping them grow a Tee Pee or Sunflower House.
    Described in Linda Lovejoy’s fabulous book “Sunflower Houses,” either of these ‘hideaways’ will delight your budding gardener.
        a)  Create Tee Pees using 8-foot garden bamboo poles bundled and tied tightly 1 foot from the top.  Prepare the ground for the garden. Spread the legs of the Tee Pee — and anchor in the ground.  Plant pea, cucumber, or other edible vines at the base of each pole, and allow them to grow and cover the teepee.
        b) Sunflower Houses are created using the growing sunflowers for the poles of the house.  Prepare the planting area and decide how wide and long you want the house to be — ex. 4 x 6 — and draw the dimensions in the soil, leaving an opening for the ‘door.’  Mammoth sunflowers (those that grow over 6 feet) are best for this.  Plant the sunflower seeds 2 or 3 to a hole, about 1 foot apart all along the ‘walls’ of the house.  In between the sunflower seeds, sow edible vines like peas or cucumbers.  Given the water requirements, creating a trench for the walls will allow flood watering for the growing plants. These houses can be as elaborate as you and your children wish. Plant flower or strawberry beds along the outside walls;  herb and flower ground covers inside for a ‘carpet’ are limited only to the imagination. The vines grow up the sunflowers and if they are enthusiastic enough, will even grow over the top of a narrow room creating a ceiling.
        c) do teach the children about bees, leaving them alone and avoiding them when they are "working" the flowers.

I will be away next week, so if you send me a message I will get back to you after I return.

Remember, you can find my gardening calendar and books with links here.

Have a wonderful time in the garden!

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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