April 2014 Gardening Calendar
This is an occasional column available to all users. Watch for Calvin Finch's weekly column, South Texas Gardener, every week in the Wilson County News. Subscribe today! https://wilsoncountynews.com/subscribe-today.php?
The lawn should grow a lot this month. After you have mowed real lawn (not weeds) twice, it will be time to fertilize the lawn. It will be sometime after April 15, or even until May 1. Use a slow release lawn fertilizer such as 19-5-9 and follow the label instructions for the application settings.
The cool weather weeds will be trying to seed and the warm weather weeds will be sprouting. Keep the cool weather weeds mowed or pulled to reduce seed production for the next year.
April is late to apply a pre-emergent herbicide to control summer weeds. Many will germinate before the herbicide works, but you may prevent some of the sand burs by applying Amaze or XL now.
The bluebonnets and other wildflowers should be blooming. Remember, if they are going to produce viable seed for next years’ wildflowers, the flowers need to fade and the seed pods need to be allowed to mature (pods form and then brown). Other plants that have to be allowed to decline naturally are larkspur, paperwhites, blood lilies, daffodils, hyacinth and iris.
In the flower garden, the snapdragons, stocks, pansies, cyclamen and calendula could keep blooming through April if the weather doesn’t heat up too fast. If you have dianthus or petunias, they may keep blooming through June. At some point in April or May, you will need to replace the cool weather flowers with warm weather color.
In the shade, plant coleus, caladium, begonias or pentas. My wife would add impatiens to that list as well, but I find them hard to keep alive, let alone blooming through a Central Texas summer. Over the last two years, I have used mostly coleus and begonias, so this year pentas will be my choice for the shade.
Pentas are available in red, pink, violet or white. Butterflies and hummingbirds like them as a nectar source. Pentas work equally well in containers or a raised bed. They are not xeriscape plants but require less water than coleus or impatiens.
A major positive feature about pentas is that they stay in bloom from planting day to Thanksgiving or whenever cold weather arrives.
Zinnias are a favorite hot weather blooming plant for full sun. Most selections offer red, crème, yellow, pink and purple blooms that make good cut flowers. Zinnias are also a favorite nectar source for hummingbirds and butterflies.
Cosmos are not as disciplined as zinnias, but they are just as popular with butterflies and are more drought tolerant. Plant cosmos seed in the garden or in a vacant lot. They make up for the “ugly period” when the wildflowers have lost their bloom and are maturing their seed. Cosmos come in pink, white and lavender as well as the showier and tougher colors of yellow and gold.
For low-growing color in the sun, consider moss rose and purslane.
In the vegetable garden, April is the time to plant tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and okra. Plant the okra late in the month.
Consider the shorter growing, faster maturing determinate or semi-determinate tomatoes. Among the best selections are Tycoon, Tigress, 444, Phoenix, Celebrity, Solar Fire, BHN 968 (Cherry) and Valley Cat. Plant tomatoes about 3 feet apart and cage them to keep the fruit off of the ground.
The cole crops and greens should still be productive in April. Harvest the leaves as you need them. Fertilize the onions and harvest green onions to leave 6 inches between the plants.
Calvin Finch Ph.D. is a Horticulturist and Director with the Texas A&M Water Conservation and Technology Center.
Your Opinions and Comments
Be the first to comment on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Agriculture & Outdoors Archives
Anthrax confirmed in Kinney County deer (September 28, 2016)
Big Time Texas Hunts deadline is Oct. 15 (September 28, 2016)
Cattlemen to gather Oct. 11 in Falls City (September 28, 2016)
Chosen Few Trail Riders (September 28, 2016)
Hot temps prevent pansy planting (September 28, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (September 28, 2016)
Local rodeo athletes combine skill, luck to make it to FFA state finals (September 28, 2016)
Old Chisholm Trail Drivers fall ride Oct. 2 (September 28, 2016)
Slagle joins SHSU rodeo team (September 28, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (September 28, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (September 28, 2016)
Wildlife populations looking good (September 28, 2016)
Forage meeting is Sept. 27 (September 21, 2016)
Game warden field notes — spotlights to pot (September 21, 2016)
Kale: an easy green to grow (September 21, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (September 21, 2016)
Managing the Beef Herd (September 21, 2016)
Reliving the past: From farming to flight (September 21, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (September 21, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (September 21, 2016)
A guide to know your doves (September 15, 2016)
Keeping insects from tomatoes (September 14, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (September 14, 2016)
Talley, Wiatrek receive Lone Star Degrees (September 14, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (September 14, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (September 14, 2016)
Wilson County fall ag program (September 14, 2016)
Area youth shine in Simmental/Simbrah event (September 7, 2016)
Fall weed, brush workshop set (September 7, 2016)
Hunting Ethics (September 7, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (September 7, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (September 7, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (September 7, 2016)
Time for fall planting (September 7, 2016)