Garden Tips Newsletter – April 2012


Learn about local resources and opportunities for gardening.

Long-time Master Gardener Romola Georgia offers up timely tips to keep your garden in top condition.

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Archived newsletter from April 2012. Click here to return to the Archive list.

Transition Palo Alto Garden Notes for April

The late rains have brought us lush and abundant flowering everywhere I look – and sniff.  It’s time to make a garden plan for the coming season.  Where will your summer crops go when you can finally put them into the ground? (Remember, the soil temperature should be 65 degrees before tomatoes and peppers are transplanted.)


1. Directly seed: arugula, beans, carrots, beets, radishes, chard and other greens, potatoes, and nasturtiums, sunflowers and cosmos.

2. Transplant:leeks and scallions, leaf lettuce, herbs, marigolds and zinnias.

3. Start in flats: basil, cucumbers, melons, rutabagas, squash (summer & winter)


Some ideas for maintenance

  1. Harden off all plants you grow indoors or buy
    Your plants need to adapt from being in a stable, climate-controlled environment to surviving in a changeable, harsher environment. You can move container plants to the cooler environment gradually by putting your seedlings outside (out of direct sunlight) and bring them back inside at night. In about two weeks, your plants should be fine spending the night outside and be ready for the ground.
  2. Check seedlings for aphids
    Plants started in greenhouses are susceptible to aphids because of the warm growing conditions. Check under all leaves, especially the tender new growth. Can you see aphids? Rub the leaves between your finger and thumb. Do you feel anything pop? Aphids are hard to see unless you’re looking for them. Simply remove them by hand or dunk your seedlings in water. Learn more about aphids and how to control them by reading the UC Aphid Pest Note.
  3. Snails and slugs
    Check regularly, remove and destroy these plant-eaters. Some people search them out at night using a head lamp.  I usually do it in the morning.  You can crush them or drop them in a bowl of water with a little dish detergent.  Don’t forget to look at the underside of leaves. Another trick is to place an eaten half grapefruit face down on the soil in your bed.  The slugs will collect in the grapefruit for your convenience.
  4. Peach leaf curl
    It’s too late for chemical control in April. But make a note to use a dormant spray in December and again at leaf break in February. The damaged leaves should be disposed of in the trash (not composted.) The new leaves are generally fine, but the vigor of the tree may suffer.
  5. Remember to mulch before the dry season
    There are lots of reasons to use mulch in your garden. Mulching plants will reduce maintenance, minimize water usage, equalize temperature and improve soil quality. While we hope for more rain, we need to prepare for the six-month-long rainless season ahead of us.


April Events

Spring Gardening Workshop Saturday, 4/14, 9:00am-11:00am, Free,

Gamble Garden, 1431 Waverley St., Palo Alto
Join the Master Gardeners for a workshop on seasonal gardening issues–bring your questions!

Growing Citrus for Year-Round Harvest Tuesday, 4/24, 7:30pm-8:30pm, Free

Los Altos Library, 13 S. San Antonio Rd., Los Altos
Join Master Gardeners for a presentation on the basics of growing and cultivating citrus fruit, and learn which varieties are most productive in our region.

Bay Friendly Garden Tour, Sunday, 4/29, 10:00 am -4:00 pm $10

Gardens throughout Santa Clara County, from Palo Alto to San Jose
Visit a new crop of Bay-Friendly Gardens on this self-guided tour. Over twenty public and private gardens will be featured in geographic clusters throughout San Jose and Palo Alto. Registration is required. After you register, you’ll receive a pamphlet with addresses and garden descriptions in the mail.

The purpose of this group is to share information, resources, questions, and events about vegetable gardening. Our wonderful Mediterranean climate permits us to grow and eat from our own gardens in every month of the year.


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