An Alameda Garden: April 2016

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Farewell and Happy Gardening!

Today is the 10th anniversary of the start of this blog. On April 9, 2006 I began this blog with this photo of some Tete-a-Tete daffodils that were in bloom that day in my garden. I started the blog because I was frustrated that we were having a particularly wet spring that was making it difficult to get any gardening done. Of course, in those early days I had no ideas of what this blog would lead to: writing for garden-related websites; writing and publishing two books on gardening in California, one of which won an award from the Garden Writers Association; and speaking at garden shows, botanical gardens, nurseries, and garden clubs throughout the state.

I still love writing about gardening but I've come to the conclusion that what I really love is writing books and that's hard to do while blogging at the same time. I've been neglecting this blog too much in the last couple years so I've finally decided that it's time to bring it to a close. I will leave the blog up so anyone can search it or ramble through it as the mood strikes, but I won't be adding any posts after this one.

I will keep writing, though. I have a new ebook, Not-So-Hot Tomatoes: Growing Delicious Tomatoes in Cooler Climates, which will be released on on April 15th and is available for pre-order there now. It will also be available soon in softcover on Amazon and in ebook format on other platforms such as Kobo, Nook, iBooks, and more. And more books will follow, including some garden-related fiction that I'm pretty excited about.

If you want to keep up on what I'm writing or on other gardening news I want to pass on, you can like my Facebook page, California Gardening Books, or follow me on Twitter at @AlamedaGardener. You can also subscribe to my newsletter, Time in the Garden (see the Subscribe button at the end of this post).

Friday, April 08, 2016

What to Do in the Garden in April

Wow, this is going to be a busy month!  Here's what to focus on in April:


  • If you're feeling the need for some garden inspiration, check out some of the garden tours that pop up around this time of year. You'll find lots of fresh ideas you can put to use in your own yard.
  • If you need to expand your back yard vegetable garden, consider moving some edibles into the ornamental beds in your front yard, Herbs and greens like Swiss chard and lettuces can blend in easily, as can fruit trees, especially citrus.


  • Try implementing a hydrozoning plan with your new plantings. That means grouping plants together by their water needs. Whether you use an irrigation system or hand-water, you'll find that watering will become a much simpler process.
  • Plant annual flowers for a cutting garden. Good choices include asters, baby's breath, calendula, celosia, cosmos, dianthus, larkspur, rudbeckia, scabiosa, snapdragons, statice, stock, sunflowers, and zinnias.
  • This is a good time to plant blackberries, raspberries, rhubarb, and if you live in an area where night-time temperatures are consistently above 50 degrees F, tomatoes.
  • It's also a good time for planting vines such as wisteria and passion fruit vines.


  • There's lots of clean-up to be done this month. You can remove frost-damaged branches, prune evergreens, and keep weeding!


  • Rain can be spotty this month. Make sure you actually check the soil occasionally to see how deep the moisture goes. Even if the surface of the soil is wet, you may need to supplement with some deep watering.


  • Get organized about your fertilizing schedule. It's helpful to keep track of what plants you feed and what amendments you use. If you apply a timed-release fertilizer, note on your calendar when you'll need to re-apply it and where. 
  • Lawns need a spring boost at this time, but take care not to overdo it. Apply about 1/2 lb. of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet and make sure it gets spread out evenly.


  • Go on pest-patrol to watch for snails, slugs, and sucking insects like aphids and scale. If you notice ants going up and down trees, they're probably farming aphids on the trees for their honeydew. You can control both the ants and aphids by applying a sticky barrier like Tanglefoot around the base of the trunk.
For more details on caring for your garden each month, check out my book, California Month-by-Month Gardening.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...