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May 20, 2024

April 16, 2023

Getting Christmas cactus and ferns ready to move

April has reached the halfway point. The Christmas cactus, asparagus fern, panda fem and snake plant have been wintering over in the living room since mid- October. They are ready for a semi-sunny location outside on the deck where they will spend spring, summer, and early autumn. They will need to be refilled with extra cactus medium and some Flower-Tone organic flower food. The secret of having blooms on Christmas cactus is to let them spend spring and summer outside on the porch in a semi-sunny location and give them a drink of water once a week. The panda and asparagus fern will need trimming several times during the summer.

Transitioning to Dogwood Winter

The dogwoods are losing their petals and covering the woodlands and lawns white with their shedding petals. The center of the dogwood petals will later form dogwood berries. During this time when the petals fall from the dogwoods is known as Dogwood winter. During this period, we will have a couple of weeks of cool weather to end the month of April.

A dogwood legend for planting the corn harvest

A corn planting legend that refers to dogwoods says that when the leaves on the dogwood trees get to be the size of a squirrels ear, it is safe to plant the corn crop. Now that the petals are falling from the dogwood blooms, the leaves are forming and are about the size of a squirrels ear it’s still not a good idea to sow corn seed because Dogwood Winter, as well as cool April soil is still with us. Wait until the warm nights of May to sow corn. After all, corn is a 90-day vegetable crop and you will not want to replant it because of cold soil. If you wait for warm days and nights of May, the corn will grow quickly and will not have to be replanted.

Buying fine textured flower potting medium

When it comes to flower potting medium, you get what you pay for. Some medium is filled with chips, fertilizer pellets, bark, sawdust, and chemicals with no peat moss, fine-textured soil, or organic material or plant food. Spend the extra money and buy proven brands especially formulated for growing flowers. Brands like Vigaro, Miracle-Gro flower potting medium and Sta- Green flower potting soil. Most flower potting medium comes in 25-pound bags and great potting medium has a fine texture with long-lasting plant foods and has no clumps or sawdust or chemical hard-as-a- brick pellets. Feel the medium before you purchase it and do not buy it if you feel barks, chips, or lumps.

Potting medium can be recycled

You can recycle last season’s flower potting medium by emptying it into the wheelbarrow and breaking it up, add peat moss (one bucket) and add the same amount of new putting medium as is in the mixture of old potting medium and peat moss. To do this recycled mix, add several pints of Flower-Tone organic flower food. Stir the whole mixture and fill containers and pots and water each filled pot or container.

Strawberry-pineapple angel lush cake pudding

This is a great and cool dessert with plenty of color and flavor. All the ingredients are simple and no cooking or baking is required. You will need one six ounce box of Jello instant pudding mix, one 20 ounce can of crushed pineapple with the juice undrained, one quart fresh strawberries cut into chunks and stirred into one cup sugar, one large tub Cool whip, one store-bought whole round angel food cake. Mix dry pudding mix and crushed pineapple with juice in a medium bowl. Prepare fresh strawberries and cut into chunks add one cup of sugar and stir. Cut the angel food cake into three horizontal layers. Place bottom layer (cut side up) Spread one and one third cup pudding mix on the bottom layer and cover with middle cake layer (cut side down). Spread middle layer with one cup mix and top with the strawberry – sugar mixture. Place top layer ( cut side down) and top with remaining pudding mixture. Top with the tub of Cool whip (or you can use Dream Whip or dairy whipping cream). Refrigerate before serving. Makes ten servings.

Preparing hanging baskets for summer annuals

April is the perfect time to prepare hanging baskets and get them ready for the annuals of summer. If any baskets have cracks in them, go ahead and replace them. If the wire hangers are bent or frazzled, replace with new hangers. They cost about a dollar each. During the summer, the hanging baskets will be be heated by the hot sunshine. Water the medium in the baskets each day to cool the pots as well to water the annuals. Water until the water runs out of the holes in the bottoms of the hanging baskets or containers.

A Boston fern makes a refreshing hanging basket

As April reaches the mid-point, Boston ferns in their lush green colors are displayed at hardwares, nurseries, and garden centers. Those ferns spread out in hanging baskets all during the summer and provide a refreshing display on the front porch. They can winter over inside the house in the winter. Just remove the hangers and place a drip tray under the pot to prevent water from dripping on the floor or carpet. Water them all summer long and once a week in the house if you winter them over. Feed the ferns with Flower-Tone organic flower food every 20 days.

Bell pepper plants can be planted in large pots

Sweet bell peppers can be set out in large pots and produce an abundance of peppers. They can also be planted in large pots with holes punched in the bottom for drainage. For a great soil mix combine a bag of top soil, ten quarts of peat moss, one quart of Plant-Tone, and one fourth a bag of Black Kow composted cow manure. Water the mixture in a five gallon bucket and allow it to soak in the soil. Set one pepper plant in each bucket. Place in a sunny location and water as needed.

April showers could produce first rainbows

The grace and dainty showers of April could produce the color and beauty of spring’s first rainbows and what a combination of spring glory both of these would be! The showers in April do not seem to occur as much as they used to. Not many years ago, they were a daily occurring event. Severe weather events now seem to have taken their place. Maybe this will be the year this will change and April showers will bring May flowers as well as rainbows after the showers.

April is still too cool for some vegetables

The last frost date may have passed, but the nights are still cool and so are the days. A frost cannot be ruled out for the remainder of April and even into the first week of May. As long as there is any possibility of frost, warm weather vegetables such as cucumbers, squash, green beans, lima beans, egg plants, tomatoes, and peppers should not be planted. Wait until the warm days and nights of May to plant the warm weather vegetables. They will perform and grow quickly and in the long run, you will have wasted no time because the warm weather growing season actually begins in the month of May. My grandma in Northampton County always said that no warm weather vegetables is worth the time to plant it in cold soil.

Preparing a pollinator bed for bees and butterflies

Planting a bed of flowers for pollinators welcomes bees and pollinates to the flowers and also attracts them to the vegetable garden area. Over 80% of flowers and vegetables require pollination from bees, wasps, butterflies, bats, bumble bees and some flies, and even night flying insects. Some even depend on flowers to feed their larvae. A 4×8 foot bed can produce many varities of flowers and wild flowers that will attract bees and other pollinators because they like a wide variety of flowers. Favorite flowers are those that grow from mid spring and all through the summer. For more vistitors to the pollinator garden, avoid a lot of herbicides, pesticides, and chemicals.

Azaleas are beginning to produce flowers

The foliage on the azaleas are now producing the first blooms of the season and are very colorful. They can be fed with Miracle-Gro liquid azalea food. Mix it with the proper amount of water in a sprinkling can and pour it around the base of the azaleas. Repeat every ten days until the finish blooming.

Humming birds are showing up

More and more humming birds are showing up and are visiting the flowers on the azalea bushes. More and more will be showing up. Keep several feeders half filled with nectar as more hummers keep arriving each week. There are several varities of nectar you can purchase including half gallon plastic bottles ready-mixed and ready to pour into the feeders, envelopes of powdered mix that you can mix with proper amount of water, and there is concentrate that you mix with water, as well as boxes of powdered mix. You can also prepare your own mix with one cup of sugar to one and a half cups water. Double and triple the recipe to prepare a gallon at a time.

The Forget-Me-Nots are in bloom

The bright blue of the Forget-Me-Nots are now blooming and cascading over their containers at the back of the porch. There are not many blue flowers but the Forget-Me-Not will now bloom for about six weeks. They are perennials and will bloom every year and produce a sea of blue flowers.

Plenty of bumble bees visiting azaleas

The population of bumble bees has increased as the azaleas bloom. they are busy as more azaleas bloom each day. They are joined by hornets, humming birds, honey bees, and wasps. There are certainly plenty of pollinators to begin the season of spring.

The tiger swallowtails make first appearance

As the azaleas of spring begin to bloom, their flowers attract the yellow and black tiger swallowtail butterflies. There are not very many of them yet but the colorful azaleas are glad to welcome these graceful flying pollinators. Like April showers, butterflies a re a special feature of the landscape of early spring.

Hoe hoe hoedown

“Ladies man.” Boyfriend: “I’m a woman killer.” Girlfriend: “Yep, they take one hard look at you and drop dead!”

“A kiss for last time sake.” Girl: “I don’t kiss on the first date.” Boy: “What about on the last date?”

“Parting ways.” Wife: “Before we were married, we didn’t sit this far from each other in the car.” Husband: “Well, Sweetheart, I haven’t moved.”

“Breakfast driving.” Ernie: “All this talk about backseat driving is hogwash. I’ve been driving for 25 years and never heard a word from back there.” Bernie: “What kind of car do you drive?” Ernie: “A hearse.”

Getting Christmas cactus and ferns ready to moveTransitioning to Dogwood WinterA dogwood legend for planting the corn harvestBuying fine textured flower potting mediumPotting medium can be recycledStrawberry-pineapple angel lush cake puddingPreparing hanging baskets for summer annualsA Boston fern makes a refreshing hanging basketBell pepper plants can be planted in large potsApril showers could produce first rainbowsApril is still too cool for some vegetablesPreparing a pollinator bed for bees and butterfliesAzaleas are beginning to produce flowersHumming birds are showing upThe Forget-Me-Nots are in bloomPlenty of bumble bees visiting azaleasThe tiger swallowtails make first appearanceHoe hoe hoedown