- Patty McHugh
“We can complain because roses have thorns or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” Abraham Lincoln
Where/When: Tuesday, April 16th, Berger Center
Time: Tea and Social at 9:30am followed by speaker/presentation from 10:00 to 11:15am
Speaker/Topic: Currently living in Sebastopol, Becky Shirley, has been a member of the Sonoma County Master Gardeners for two years as a food and garden specialist. The program’s mission statement is to provide environmentally sustainable, science-based horticultural information to all of Sonoma County’s population. Master Gardeners strive for diversity and inclusion in all aspects of their organization. Becky’s particular passion is the soil, which serves as the living source of the food we eat. She will be giving a power-point presentation and take Q&A. Even if you are an experienced food gardener, you will find this interesting and helpful – we can all always use a little more expert advice.
APRIL IN THE GARDEN
The last frost date in Sonoma County is April 15 but that’s not to say we won’t have some pretty cold nights for a while longer. That said, it’s better to wait until the end of the month to sow seed or set out transplants of the warm-season vegetables like tomatoes, eggplant, peppers. You may find a Master Gardener chart for Year-Round Food Gardening online at http://sonomamg.ucanr.edu/files/295951. April is a busy time in the garden – in addition to the list from the previous column, you’ll want to:
* Clean up azaleas and rhododendron that have finished flowering. Fertilize or amend the soil with acidic material or acid fertilizer.
* Fertilize perennials coming off winter dormancy. Feed your roses. Your roses will thank you if you fertilize them once a month. Organic fertilizers are preferred.
* Keep an eye out for aphids – they love the tender new growth. (See previous column.)
* Definitely check your irrigation system for cracks, leaks and clogs. Drip irrigation need to be flushed out; make sure all emitters are working. Ensure that timers are working.
* Set out summer-flowering nursery plants; don’t waste your money on cool-season plants that may still be in bloom at the nursery – they will not be blooming for long.
* Prune spring-flowering plants as they finish flowering. Prune hydrangeas, fuchsias and bougainvilleas.
* Before you plant your vegetable garden, it must be well-weeded and should be amended with organic matter. It’s perfectly alright to mix flowers with your vegetables – it’s fun if they, too, are edible, but not required.
* Make sure your vegetable bed is pest-free. Remove any mulch or dead plant material from a previous season and start fresh. You’ll probably see lots of little pill bugs under the removed material – not good, they can devour seedlings and transplants overnight. If you clean up the bed a week or more before planting, they probably will have moved on, looking for a new source of food.
* Keep at that weeding – “Give weeds an inch and they’ll take your yard”, Anonymous.
It’s vegetable gardening season – hope to see you all on the 16th!