As I mentioned last week, I’m going to start posting Susan Henry’s Do It Now column from the weekly garden page in the paper.
Here’s a link to the calendar for last week. And here’s the calendar for this week:
â€¢ As perennials emerge and the mulch is removed, decide which plants need dividing and which plants to remove or replace for a more pleasing design.
â€¢ Plant rose bushes this month, soaking bare-root rose plants in a bucket of water for at least an hour just before planting. Dig a sizable hole and fill with plenty of compost. Keep well watered. If spraying for black spot is objectionable, consider the new resistant varieties, even though they may lack the fragrance and charm of older roses.
â€¢ Cut back perennial herbs, such as lavender, tarragon and sage.
â€¢ Start kitchen herbs indoors from cuttings or seed: basil, fennel, dill and sweet marjoram.
â€¢ Sow seeds of poppies, nigella, sweet peas and larkspur as soon as the ground can be worked.
Trees and shrubs
â€¢ Feed ericaceous plants and shrubs with an acid fertilizer such as Hollytone (which is part organic and part inorganic): rhododendron, azaleas, hollies, dogwoods. Never use acid fertilizers on boxwoods. They prefer a pH of 6.7 to 7.2.
â€¢ Continue pruning dead wood and overgrown shrubs.
â€¢ April is the best time to plant trees and large shrubs. Think about fall color when choosing new shrubs.
Vegetables and fruits
â€¢ Start seeds of tomatoes and peppers.
â€¢ Begin planting asparagus roots in early- to mid-spring. Add plenty of well-rotted manure to their bed.
â€¢ Plant fruit trees and grape vines this month.
â€¢ Make cuttings of houseplants and repot the ones that need more room, using a pot 2 inches larger in diameter across the top. If you wish to continue using a favorite pot, you can root, prune and replace. Cut back some of the top, too.
â€¢ Before laying sod, make sure the soil is well prepared and moist to ensure a strong bond and keep well watered.
â€¢ Birds consume hundreds of insects each day, and wise gardeners encourage them to take up residence in orchards and gardens by installing birdhouses, feeders and water sources. Bluebird houses should be cleaned out before â€œhousekeepingâ€ begins.
Susan Henry, master gardener