Submitted by Faye Mahaffey,
OSUE Brown County Master Gardener Volunteer
This month, gardeners move outdoors (weather permitting). Yes, we’re still starting seeds inside the house, but now’s the time we work the soil (if it ever dries out), sow cold-tolerant seeds outside, and divide a few perennials and suckering shrubs. We begin the hard work that will let us sit back and enjoy the garden once summer arrives. Weeds are growing fast and furious in the flowerbeds. The lawn needs care. Yet the weather still fools us, and a hard spring frost can kill off cherished plants and growing bulbs too tender to survive the final cycle of freeze-and-thaw. As I prepared to cut down Ornamental grasses in the front yard I did a quick walk about. We experienced a hard frost and things look a bit cold. To my surprise the deer have been munching on emerging daylilies all over the property! I hope the farmer next to us plants soybeans this year so my daylilies and hostas have a break from the foraging critters. The forecast for this evening is a wintry mix. This crazy weather has me looking at the April garden tasks and wondering just when some of these items can be accomplished!
April’s Tasks Include:
- Begin digging new garden beds when the soil is workable
- Start weeding your beds
- Replant frost-heaved perennials
- Cut back ornamental grasses and sedum
- Transplant and divide summer and fall blooming perennials
- Clean up ground-cover beds
- Plant pansies and other cold-tolerant annuals
- Direct-seed peas and beets
- Direct-seed lettuce, endive, escarole and spinach
- Sow radishes throughout the season, beginning now
- Cut back shrubby herbs
- Start kitchen herbs indoors, to be transplanted outside
- Sow seeds of hardy annuals and perennials outdoors
Many gardeners have been thinking about the Monarch Butterflies and what we can do to help the declining population.
If you want to read more about the Monarchs and what you can do to help, visit the website, Ohioline, and read a great factsheet written by Denise Ellsworth, OSU Department of Entomology. Factsheet ENT-82, Pollinator Quick Guide: What You Can Do to Help Monarchs, includes photographs of the monarch’s complete metamorphosis, progressing from an egg to a larva (caterpillar), a pupa (chrysalis) and an adult (butterfly) state. There is a list of Host plants for the monarchs as well as some suggestions for Nectar sources and some other gardening tips to help the Monarchs.
As soon as the sun takes care of the morning frost, I am headed out to cut down grasses in the front yard. We have visitors from Indiana this weekend and they want something to do! How lucky am I?
About the MGV Program in Ohio
The Ohio State University Extension Master Gardener Volunteer (MGV) program provides intensive training in horticulture to interested Ohio residents who then volunteer their time assisting with educational programs and activities for Ohio residents through their local OSU Extension county office. Volunteers are not required to have gardening skills or knowledge; a passion for learning about gardening and sharing this knowledge with others is a must!
Working with county Extension personnel, Master Gardener Volunteers provide educational services to their communities such as: answering gardening questions from the public; conducting plant clinics; gardening activities with children, senior citizens, or disabled persons; beautifying the community; developing community or demonstration gardens; and other horticultural activities.
You can find out more about the Master Gardener Volunteer Program at https://mastergardener.osu.edu/home and find their social media posts at the buttons to the right.