In the April garden, make the most of this prime time for planting

April is the thirty day period when our gardens display off their best selves. Bulbs are blooming, annuals are exhibiting off, indigenous plants are lush and inexperienced, and summer’s vegetable seedlings promise potential bounty.

Gardens all around you

Backyard excursions abound this month. Most profit a neighborhood corporation or backyard club. You can discover a listing at of living/house-and-back garden/story/2022-03-05/yard-tours.

Look at the hillsides. Native crops like California lilac (Ceanothus), climbing penstemon (Keckiella cordifolia), bush poppy (Dendromecon rigida), Cleveland sage (Salvia clevelandii), crimson bush monkeyflower (Mimulus aurantiacus), island snapdragon (Gambelia speciosa) and numerous much more bloom about this time. These wildland vegetation are suited to our household gardens, in which their flowers guidance butterflies, bees, birds and other wildlife.

San Diego Botanic Back garden, Balboa Park, the San Diego Zoo, and San Diego Zoo Safari Park are wonderful spots to stroll and take pleasure in the gardens. Of course, the Zoo and Zoo Safari Park are far better regarded for their animal collections, but their plants are really amazing, as well.

As you stroll, photograph the crops and gardens you like. Create a wish e-book for next drop, which is primary planting time. Share your illustrations or photos with other home gardeners in the San Diego Gardener Fb group,

Vegetable backyard garden

This is the greatest time to get started your summer vegetable back garden, from seed or from seedlings.

Have you struggled with commencing seeds? Have your seedlings grown way too very long and leggy? Do they fall about quickly immediately after sprouting? Do they die when you move from a little pot to a massive pot? Find out to mature lush, healthy seedlings devoid of any of people failures in “Easy Seed Starting Workshop On the internet.” Enroll in the self-paced workshop at

Vegetation to start out now from seeds or plant as seedlings: pumpkin, summer time squash, peppers, eggplants, cilantro, tomatillo, watermelon, zucchini and cucumbers. All these greens demand six hrs of complete, direct sun every day.

Get started from seed only: carrots, beets and other root crops. Root crops really do not transplant nicely.

There is time for one particular much more crop of beans, spinach, kale, dandelion greens and arugula just before temperatures get also warm. Plant seeds or seedlings.

Starting a vegetable back garden from scratch? Program to expand greens in lifted beds, not in the floor. Veggies prosper in moist soils, higher in natural and organic issue and fertilized often. These ailments are significantly simpler to create and maintain in lifted beds than in the ground.

Develop your personal lifted beds. Check out my online video to see how to create and plant a lifted bed:

For prefabricated raised beds, search at Vegepod (, a good stand-by itself mattress procedure with crafted-in irrigation. These waist-superior beds function amazingly nicely and are especially fantastic for individuals who have again and knee concerns. For in-ground beds, attempt coated metal Vego backyard beds (

Ahead of you plant, prime off present vegetable beds with layers of compost, earthworm castings, and granular natural vegetable fertilizer. Use a hand trowel to gently combine them into the best several inches of soil.

The finest irrigation for raised beds is slender in-line drip, these as Netafim Techline EZ, with emitters spaced each and every 6 inches. Shop for Netafim Techline EZ at your community irrigation store.

Set up cages for tomatoes and trellises for beans, cucumbers and other climbers prior to you plant. I make supports from sheets of concrete-reinforcing mesh, held jointly on the limited finishes with zip ties. Fold the mesh to generate a freestanding cylinder, about 3 ft in diameter — ideal for two tomatoes, 5 or 6 cucumbers, 10 bean crops, and so on.

Rotate plantings of nightshade crops — tomato, pepper, eggplant, tomatillo — which are all vulnerable to the similar suite of soil pathogens, so when you plant them in the similar soil yr immediately after year, they generate a lot less and a lot less. Start out with two backyard beds plant all nightshades in 1 mattress the initially year. Shift them to the other bed in the second yr. Move them to the first mattress in the third yr and carry on with that rotation.

Can including clean soil assist a mattress wherever tomatoes have been attacked last year by root-knot nematode? Sadly, including soil will not quit root knot nematodes, a parasitic roundworm. The only way to stop them is by planting them in other places this calendar year.

Bouquets and wildflowers

Plant Zinnia from seed. The “Giant” series from Benary Seeds can make enormous vegetation coated in big bouquets in amazing shades. ‘Giant Lime’ blooms chartreuse inexperienced, ‘Giant Wine’ blooms brilliant burgundy, ‘Giant Yellow’ blooms golden yellow, and so on. As flowers start out to fade, deadhead regularly to inspire new buds and blooms.

Decide on yard bouquets to take pleasure in indoors and outdoor, way too. Pick your very own bouquets, not your neighbors’ and By no means vegetation or bouquets from native habitats or community landscapes. If it does not belong to you, really don’t minimize it and never choose it.

Slash again California poppy crops right after their to start with blooms fade. Drinking water and hold out. They’ll sprout a new set of leaves and bloom yet again.

Cut sweet pea flowers to make bouquets. The much more bouquets you slice, the additional you get. And their flowery fragrance will fill your home!

Epiphyllum, also regarded as orchid cactus, start out blooming now. Their significant, multilayered flowers seem like colored cellophane. The crops are quite straightforward to develop and propagate. If you have a friend who has a single you like, question for a reducing — cut sections apart at the joints — then root in a combination of potting soil and smaller redwood bark. Epiphyllum are ideal as hanging plants, with early morning sunlight exposure or beneath dappled shade.

Decorative trees, vines and shrubs

Alongside the coastline, proceed to plant ornamental trees, vines and shrubs.

Plant any sort of succulent now, from small purple, gold and orange pork and beans Sedum to huge, coral-flowered tree Aloe. Native liveforevers (Dudleya species) plants are silvery bladed succulents, typically rosette-shaped that are superb specially in rock gardens.

While you may well be attracted to fantastic, delicate-textured crops, much too quite a few of these vegetation are chaotic with no the distinction of broad-leaved and succulent plants. Incorporate the two for the most beautiful backyard garden beds.


Lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus) is a tall, shiny-green grass with 50 percent-inch-broad blades that sort handsome mounds. Plant in full sunshine, in a moderately irrigated mattress. Harvest by reducing the stalks at the foundation. Thinly slice the tender, pale inexperienced parts to use in Thai curries. Steep the stems and leaves for hot or iced tea.

Oregano and sage each make superb minimal-escalating, lower-drinking water ground handles. Sample varieties, then choose your preferred.

Plant a huge pot of basil outdoors the kitchen doorway so you can select it to use although you cook dinner.

Container gardens

If you have a solar-crammed balcony, patio or porch, expand dwarf versions of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and far more in containers. Select unglazed terra cotta more than glazed ceramic.

If you plant black plastic nursery pots, drape them in gentle-coloured material in the heat of summertime, so the intensive sunlight does not warmth the pot and cook the roots.

Match the pot to the plants:

  • A 15-gallon black nursery pot has space for 1 tomato plant or TWO pepper vegetation or eggplant plants or basil vegetation.
  • A half whiskey barrel or wine barrel has area for two tomatoes or a few peppers, or a few eggplant plants, or three basil crops. Alternatively, plant a few cucumber crops or one squash plant or five cilantro crops.

Geotextile fabric pots are quick to use but dry out superfast in our weather. In summertime, drinking water every day to retain the soil moist so crops do not wilt.

Whatever pot you use, fill it with significant good quality potting combine. Do not skimp.

Fruit trees

Plant citrus, guava, banana and other heat-enthusiasts now. Group these thirsty crops collectively so they can be watered well without overwatering the relaxation of the yard.

Slim the marble-dimension fruits on nectarines, apricots and other deciduous fruit trees to a single fruit per 4 to 6 inches alongside each individual department. Compost the thinned fruits.

Remove fruits from recently planted trees so they set their energy into robust roots and leaves alternatively. Those roots and leaves will assist potential crops.

Feed stone fruits, apples and other deciduous fruit trees with natural fruit tree fertilizer. Comply with label instructions.

Water fruit trees generally ample to continue to keep the soil slightly moist.


DO NOT rototill. Today, we know that rototilling destroys soil composition and disrupts the critically important group of valuable microbes that dwell in the soil and interact with plant roots. Rototilling also destroys earthworm habitat and results in soil to compact the moment it resettles — the opposite of its intent.

Change around potted bromeliads and shake out the standing water in their “tanks.” Switch again upright and sprinkle Mosquito Bits into the heart when you refill it. Mosquito Bits have the biological pesticide Bt, which kills worms, caterpillars (so be watchful with it about pollinator crops) and mosquito larvae.

Retain up with weeds! Seize a hoe or get down on your palms and knees to pull weeds out by the root. Do not trouble spraying. By the time sprayed weeds die, they will have flowered and created seeds that rest in the soil to sprout following 12 months. And apart from, sprays aren’t superior for the atmosphere.

Incorporating thick mulch in excess of back garden beds keeps dormant weed seeds from sprouting.

Inspect your irrigation technique. Flip on just about every zone to verify for leaks and breaks, flush each drip irrigation zone. Change spray and outdated-fashioned drip to in-line drip.

Steer clear of breeding mosquitoes empty all bowls, dishes, buckets and something else that holds standing h2o. Decommission outdated fountains and plant them with succulents in its place.

Remember to have on sunscreen, lengthy sleeves and a hat outside. Though the sunlight could truly feel great on your skin, those people UV rays are harmful. Defend your self and consume tons of water.

Sterman is a waterwise yard designer and author and the host of “A Rising Passion” on KPBS television. Much more information and facts is at and