Well, it’s time to get dirty in the garden. February to April are perfect months to take advantage of those warm weather days. The soil is still too cold to be tempted to plant those tender plants (here in Wyoming) but warm enough to throw bags of last fall’s leaves that you may still have onto the raised beds or gardens, to stake out where you will have rows of peas and beans, clean up old vegetation, and all around general clean up that wasn’t finished last fall. Plan out that garden!
I leave a lot of my flower vegetation through the winter because I love the way they look when they are frosted, iced or just have snow on them. I know most garden books tell you to cut or pull dried plants out in the fall, but we have such low humidity I have never had a problem and I love their look through the winter. Also, many native bees and insects make homes in them.
There are a few vegetables you can plant in February to April depending where you live. These are any cool weather plants like: potatoes, onions, leeks, cabbages, kale, broccoli, sunflowers, and flower bulbs.
Of course you can fool the weather by using things like Walls of Water, cold frames, hot frames, row covers, hoop houses, greenhouses, and cloches. All of these heat the soil and air up around the plants by 10 degrees or more. Many gardeners lay black plastic down on the soil a few weeks before they are going to plant so the soil temperature will warm.
In April I like to take my old pots and give them a good scrubbing of warm, Clorox water to kill in bacteria or anything else that might be lurking in there. I will let them sun dry before stacking them to use later. Garden tools should be check and replaced if needed. Fences and gates can be repaired and any debris can be stacked for later use or thrown away.
On warm afternoons, new garden projects can be started. A new trellis for the grape vine, a raised bed for vegetables, fruit trees can be pruned and garden furniture can be checked for any repairs. I like a garden chair area with a place to sit and enjoy the beauty of the garden, adding a stepping stone seating area could be done in April and you could enjoy this area all summer. It doesn’t have to be large, just enough stones that will fit a chair and maybe a small table for a cup of tea.
Plants can be divided and planted in other areas of your yard. Holes can be dug for new trees to be planted in May. I am going to do some straw bale gardening on a hillside section of my yard so I will be getting that area ready this month. I want to move my compost tumbler into the main garden along with my bird seed bins also. Time to clean out your bird houses and feeders. Feeders can be scrubbed with warm Clorox water. I use only a capful of Clorox to a 5 gallon bucket of warm water. Any hose repair can also be done.
By doing these jobs in April, you can enjoy planting in May and not feel overwhelmed. There are always many warm days in April and there is always a temptation to plant everything early but we live in zone 4 and that means we are going to get a more snow and usually at least one good dumping. Seeds you have started earlier will need to be re-potted into larger containers. Make a list and check them off when you finish each job. This is very satisfying.