April Gardening

T.S. Eliot wrote, “April is the cruellest month.”  When we were all set for a pleasant spring, the snow may return.  My tulips have poked their heads out on the sunny side of the house but the rest are watching the weather. 
April, the beginning of our outdoor gardening year, comes with many chores.  Here are some of the things I intend to do this month:

  • House plants will begin to actively grow this month.  It’s a good time to start feeding them on a monthly basis – or weakly weekly.  They also might enjoy a repotting. I’ll check the roots to see if they are crowding the pot.
  • The begonias I got from Gardenimport several years ago were potted up last month and are growing well.  One flower bud is evident.  Already the little pink noses of new growth are showing on the bulbs I bought at Garden Gallery last month.
  • Those veggie seeds I plan to start indoors need to be sown by the second week of April to be ready to plant in late May.  Seeding six to eight weeks before they can be set outside is a good rule of thumb.
  • This year I’m going to sow peas and carrots indoors as an experiment.  Of course, I’ll save some seeds for direct sowing.
  • New this year is the cold frame. Will plant salad greens in the frame during the second week of April.
  • As soon as the soil has thawed I have some perennials to lift and divide This is a big year – the Sum and Substance hosta near the clematis must be lifted.  I’ll divide the big plant and put back just one good section.  I think I’ll use another section on the boulevard.
  • If I can find a source for corn gluten meal, I’ll add it to the bit of grass I have left on the boulevard for a quick nitrogen boost. And I’ll remember to resist the temptation to sow grass seed for a least 6 weeks after applying corn gluten.  Corn gluten inhibits the germination of seeds – a good thing for weed seeds but a bad thing for grass seed.
  • I’ll tidy up the front and clean up the branches that came down during the winter.  The “gardens” in my natural front need a rethink and some reorganization.
  • I’ll definitely take a trip to a native plant nursery to shop for plants to fill in the spaces at the front of the house and the larger space created when the pond was reduced last fall.
  • The raised beds should thaw quickly with a few warmer days, and we can start preparing vegetable beds as soon as the soil can be worked.  I won’t jump the gun, however, and work soil before it dries out somewhat.  Working wet soil absolutely ruins the soil texture.
  • And each day I plan to walk in the garden to see what has popped up overnight

Hurray – It’s April!


And just for you, a link to my latest presentation: A New Kind of Gardener

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Pollinator Patches

"Be the change you want to see in the world." When Mahatma Ghandi said that he must have been thinking about Pollinator Patches. You can make a difference in your world this year by creating a Pollinator Patch -- a habitat for native bees.

To help you build your own Pollinator Patch, see our Roadsides Guide.

Roadsides Guide to Creating Pollinator Patches

The first Pollinator Patch was planted in Barrie, Ontario, in May of 2010. Visit the Roadsides site, read the blog, and be sure to look at the gallery to see pictures of the creation of Pollinator Patch from Year 1 to the Weaning Year 5.

Roadsides web site


Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do. --Wendell Barry



Jottings contains some articles I wrote for the monthly newsletter of Barrie's Garden Club and other projects. I hope you enjoy them.


It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment. Ansel Adams (1902-1984)


Hints & Tricks

This is a collection of neat ideas and crazy tricks that I've collected from various sources. Many are amusing, and most are useful. We gardeners just love to learn neat little ways of doing our gardening jobs more effectively. My most popular talk was just that: "Hints and Tricks."

Most of the hints I've used myself or know someone who will vouch for them. All of them are fun to read and almost as much fun to do.


We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it's forever. Carl Sagan


Gardening Info

This is a miscellaneous section of odds and sods of information I've collected and would like to share. I've found most of the information in magazines and on the internet or in the many gardening books I can't resist buying!

The side column of this section includes some of my presentations using Adobe Presenter.

You'll also find some of my favourite links on the Gardening Info page.


"Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food. Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the F.D.A.’s job." ~ Philip Angell, Monsanto's Director of Communications


The Blog

I guess the whole site is a sort of blog, isn't it?

But this new section is a more conventional blog -- a space to put my thoughts and new ideas as I learn them or think them.