Friday, April 3, 2015

April Fools

Magnolia buds
     Just after my last post we got another six inches of snow, burying all the snow peas I had sown. I suppose they got their name for a reason.  I sowed seed for my other cold weather vegetables like spinach and broccoli as soon as the snow melted.

     But April is the month we get carried away and forget that the average last frost date for Chicago is April 28. Last year the Big Box stores had brought in tomatoes and other very tender plants in April -- over a month before it made any sense. All it takes is a few warm days and our longing for spring to be here overcomes our common sense.


    We can plant trees and shrubs. In fact, they will have an easier time if they are planted before they fully leaf out. We can also divide and transplant perennials as soon as they poke their heads out of the ground. We can even plant a few hardy annuals like violas and pansies.What we should not try to do is to plant tender annuals and perennials until  we are past the danger of frost and the soil  has had a chance to warm up a bit.

     You can also finish tasks from last month -- pruning trees and shrubs, cutting ornamental grasses down to 5-6" to make room for new shoots, and removing dead foliage from your perennials.

     Now is a good time  to start your compost pile, and it may be a good time to get your rain barrels in working order. More on them later.