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April’s a Good Time to Prepare and Plant to Make Your Garden Grow

Get digging now to ensure flowers and vegetables produce throughout summer and early fall

April is the time of year to prepare and plant flower and vegetable gardens so they produce throughout summer and early fall. All of this activity makes April one of the busiest months for gardeners, according to experts at Agromin, an Oxnard-based manufacturer of earth-friendly soil products made from organic material collected from more than 50 Southern California communities, including those in Santa Barbara County.

» Revitalize garden soil: Growers know that planting in the same location year after year takes its toll on soil. Consider adding an organic soil blend into the garden specifically for vegetables and flowers. This gives the soil the added nutrients it needs that may have been lost over winter. Once the garden is planted, add a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch around plants. Mulch helps the soil retain moisture and reduces weed growth.

» Plant warm-season vegetables: Whether from seed or sprouts, now is the time to plant just about every type of vegetable. These include old standbys such as tomatoes, eggplant, squash, corn, cucumber, melons, sunflowers and zucchini. It’s also a good opportunity to try out less common garden vegetables, including Swiss chard, okra and jicama. Southern California coastal area residents still have time to plant cool-season vegetables, including lettuce carrots and radishes.

» Include your kids: Make your garden a learning opportunity. Most kids enjoy watching vegetables grow and then eating them in a tasty salad or vegetable dish. Ask them what they would like to plant and give them the chance to plant, care and harvest their crop. Gardening provides valuable lessons about responsibility, patience and the rewards that come from hard work.

» Plant color for summer: Summer-blooming bedding plants should be planted in April. Annuals that bloom all summer include alyssum, bedding dahlia, gloriosa daisy, marigold, petunia, verbena and zinnia. Summer shade plants include begonia and impatiens. Don’t forget perennials such as Peruvian lily, catmint, lavender, coneflower and Jerusalem sage.

» Go organic: Growing your own vegetables enables you to eat food that is chemical-free. Before putting fertilizers and other additives into your garden soil, make sure you read the labels carefully. Nonorganic fertilizers are often filled with chemicals. For a truly natural garden, use only organic planting mix to amend your soil and avoid chemical-based fertilizers.

» Give your lawn new life: Twice a year, spring and fall, is your opportunity to reinvigorate your lawn. If your lawn has bare patches, mow you lawn closely, add grass seed to the bare spots and then a thin layer of lawn top dressing. Water twice a day for two weeks. The new growth will begin in about three weeks. Mow your lawn when the new growth is 2 inches high.

Click here for more gardening tips.

— Diane Rumbaugh is a publicist representing Agromin.

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