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By Phyllis Both
Contributing Writer 

Sauk County Gardener


April 12, 2018

“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

April is coming in like a lion and hopefully will go out like a lamb.

I worked in the vegetable garden on Sunday because I always like to plant onions in the third week of April. Unfortunately the ground is still frozen. The garden is downhill from the house so it takes a little longer to thaw. Hope we get some warm weather soon.

Raspberries, rhubarb, strawberries, and asparagus were fertilized and crab grass control will be applied to at least part of the lawn this week. Last year my strawberry bed was covered with wood sorrel so I sprinkled organic Preen over it this year. Hope it helps.

If you use Preen or any other herbicide, it should be applied now before the early weeds germinate. Just remember where you apply it, vegetable and flower seeds will not germinate in that area. It will not hurt any plants that you may have started indoors or plants purchased at the nursery.

Even if we can’t start our planting, there are a lot of chores to finish up in yards and gardens. The second week of April is the time to prune evergreens except pines and spruce. Remove mulch from strawberries but leave it near the bed in case we have frost, which could be a possibility this year.

Plant cool-weather crops like lettuce, spinach, chard, parsnips, beets, carrots, kohlrabi, mustard, turnips, radishes, peas, horseradish, and parsley when soil temperature reaches 40 degrees and night air is 45 degrees. The third week of April is time to plant potatoes. Side dress asparagus with well-rotted manure or compost. Fertilize ornamental shrubs. Plant new strawberry plants and apply weed control sprays around raspberries before leaves start to grow. Prune spring flowering shrubs in the fourth week of April after they bloom. Plant grass seed in late April through May but keep in mind the very best time to plant grass seed is mid-August through mid-September. If you plan to graft apple trees, do it when buds begin to swell.

The days are getting longer and we really want to get out those tools. Check to see if your soil is too wet. Walking on or working wet soil is a no-no. This causes compaction of the soil that could last for years. Compact soils become cement-like and makes it impossible for plants to get water and nutrients. If soil crumbles in your hands, it is perfect for planting.

There will be a Master Gardener class held this fall if there is enough interest. Please call 608-355-3250 for details.

Your questions are always welcome. Feel free to contact me at or at the Sauk County UW Extension Office at (608) 355-3250.


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