GARDEN TIME with DOUG – April Gardening Chores


Finally, April has arrived. March ended on a high note with warming temperatures and some rain on the last day. As we begin in April, I think we need to re-cap March. March was much more traditional when it came to temperatures and rainfall, especially when compared to the last two years when March was cold, wet, dreary, snowy, etc. This year, March has really helped to set up April as a strong gardening month.

As of March 26, our soil temperature is sitting at 46 degrees. This is an important number to keep in mind as we start gardening in April. This number is telling me that it is still too early to be thinking about planting cold-sensitive plants such as tomatoes, peppers, basil, and many flowering summer annual bedding plants. My advice – we need to patient and let Mother Nature warm us up and that time will be coming soon.

Keep in mind that our average last frost date for our area is not until around April 20th. So, don’t get ahead of yourself when it comes to planting cold-sensitive plants or beginning to take your tropical plants outside. The long-range forecast is for us to have a wetter than normal spring this year.

We have two national gardening activities this month:

  • EARTH DAY                         –              MONDAY, APRIL 22
  • NATIONAL ARBOR DAY  –              FRIDAY, APRIL 26

These are two very good events to support by doing some planting and getting the family involved in planting a tree or two.


  1. The proper time to prune spring-blooming shrubs such as azaleas, forsythia, rhododendrons, camellias, etc. is after they have finished blooming. Also, this is the perfect time to give them good quality feeding such as with ESPOMA HOLLY-TONE.
  2. Consider planting some vegetables this year.  If you don’t have a traditional garden area, you can grow most vegetables in containers. The containers can be set on the deck, balcony, or porch as long as the vegetables receive a minimum of 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight. Have fun and be creative.
  3. April starts our lawn mowing season. Remember GRASS-CYCLING. Grasscycling is leaving your grass clippings on the lawn. Grass clippings are 85% water and break down quickly returning 20% of their nitrogen back to the lawn. DON’T BAG ANY MORE!!!
  4. When planting this spring, remember the GOLDEN RULE FOR PLANTING – “RIGHT PLANT / RIGHT LOCATION.” Plants may look small and cute in the garden center, but they may only be babies. Read the label for the eventual growing dimensions and space them properly when doing your planting.
  5. Summer bulbs, such as caladiums, gladiolas, elephant ears – now is the time to buy these bulbs but hold off on actually planting until the end of the month when our soil temperature is much warmer.


4 thoughts on “GARDEN TIME with DOUG – April Gardening Chores”

  1. Love, love, love these (LOCAL) Maryland garden-chore calendars. Huge help. Thank you!

    For my raised veggie beds, this is year 3. I’ll mix in compost + topsoil as the current dirt has settled — do I just work new dirt into old?

    Tomatoes, pole beans, yell sq, zucch, asparagus (yr 3! – hopefully eating them THIS year), and red pepper. I have crushed eggshells (for tomatoes?) anything else organic needed in the dirt mix? Growing seemed good; pests (ESPECIALLY on broccoli) were an issue. Not planting broccoli this year. 🙁

  2. I’m missing the Woodbridge store and staff terribly! Where did everyone go after you decided to close and can I find them at other locations nearby?

    • Hi, Mary. The staff at Woodbridge has spread out around our other various locations after the closing. I know one manager landed at our Stafford location, which is somewhat close to the old Woodbridge store.

  3. I have a fairly large above ground planter 10’x10’x2.5.’It’s in three sections.”U”shaped with fairly good soil. Love to grow both flowers (zinnias esp) and vegetables. Here’s the thing: I’m 83 and not very mobile or strong. What flowers/plants would you recommend? Love
    to grow almost anything (except bored)..

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