Springtime Garden Tips
Every spring, gardeners throughout the Northwest start planning and planting for the fast-approaching growing season. Wherever you are with yours, we have some springtime gardening tips to help you grow a bigger bounty and have fun doing it.
All About April
Now is the perfect time to transplant some early season seed starts (or store-bought starts) into your garden. You may also want to fertilize. Let’s start with transplanting seedlings to the garden.
Transplant Your Seedlings to the Garden: If you started broccoli, cauliflower, onions, and cabbage seeds in your house in January, they could be ready to transplant. Consult the planting chart from Oregon State University or their full gardening guide here. If you live in Washington, see pages 11 and 12 of the Washington State University Extension’s Home Vegetable Gardening guide. In it, you’ll find details of when to transplant for best results.
Adding Fertilizer to Your Blueberries: You may already see some buds on your blueberry bushes. To boost your bounty, add a slow-release nitrogen-rich fertilizer. This kind of fertilizer works great for azaleas and rhododendrons, as well.
May the Weather be with You
In May, it’s time to start checking your soil temperature and planting starts for the warm weather ahead.
Check Your Soil Temperature: Depending on where you live in the Northwest, you’ll want to wait to plant certain crops until your soil reaches 60-65º F. These include sweet corn, bush beans, squash, and pumpkins. To check your soil temperature, use a metal thermometer and push it 4-inches into the ground. Check the temperature a few days in a row to be sure temperatures remain consistent.
Time to Plant Your Starts: If you started tomato, pepper, ambrosia, or watermelon seeds a month or so back, now is the time to plant them. You can also pick up your starts at Coastal.
Companions Make Healthy Harvests: Looking for a way to keep bad bugs out of your garden and encourage good ones to visit? Companion plants can make a huge difference. Try the following:
Tomatoes with Basil (or marigolds): This coupling helps repel flies and mosquitos and produces a better yield of tomatoes.
Carrots with Onions: The onions repel aphids and other pests.
Peppers with Basil: While the basil will keep bad bugs away, it can also enhance the flavor of the peppers.
Beans with Marigolds: Bean beetles can be a huge problem if you don’t plant some marigolds nearby.
Cucumbers with Marigolds: Repels beetles and aphids.
Get Set for June
As summer begins, now is the right time to thin your apple trees, trellis the tomato plants, and fertilize the corn.
Thin Your Apple Trees: By thinning your apples, you’ll get bigger fruit and a better harvest next year. Plus, you’ll reduce the chances of a broken branch because of too many apples in one spot.
For best results, wait until the June drop, or whenever you notice some of the smaller apples falling from the tree. Then tackle each tree with a sharp pair of pruning scissors, a bucket, and some time. First, remove all but one apple in each cluster of small apples. Throw the bad apples into your bucket. You want to keep the healthiest, less damaged, and largest of the apples in each cluster. If you need to decide between two of equal size and quality, pick the one that will get the most sun. Next, make sure the branch has no more than 1 apple every 6 inches.
Trellising and Pruning Tomatoes: If you have climbing tomatoes, you’ll want to trellis them. We have some step-by-step directions to get yours done right.
Fertilizing Your Corn: Tall rows of corn are a welcome sight in any garden. To encourage optimal growth, add nitrogen between the rows of corn. This is also called side-dressing. It’s relatively easy to do with a time-release fertilizer sprinkled on the ground but not touching the stalks of the corn. If rain isn’t in the forecast for a few days, be sure to give your corn a healthy dose of water to ensure the granules stay in place and get started.
Lawn Care and Weed Spraying Safety
Part of caring for a garden is maintaining a healthy lawn and yard. Check out our springtime lawn care tips as well as advice to safely spray for weeds on your property.
Have a Problem with Deer? While a very tall and strong fence can help keep deer out of your property, some deer-resistant plants can deter uninvited guests in your garden. Give these options a try.
Canterbury Bells Catmint Nepeta Creeping Phlox
Rock Cress Aubretia
Visit Your Coastal Gardening Center
Your West Coast-owned and operated Coastal carries everything you need for your yard and garden. That includes seeds, starts, soils, fertilizers, weed killers, gardening tools, sprinklers, hoses, and a lot more. Love birds? Check out our aisle of bird feeders and bags of birdseed.