Updated: Apr 6
It’s officially spring and while in many parts of the country that means warmer days and more time in the garden, in the Midwest it means keeping both your winter coat and rain jacket handy. The frosty mornings can linger affecting which warm and cool season vegetables to plant, when to fertilize your lawn, and how to prune your plants to improve the overall health and shape. In addition, after the last frost, warmer wetter days can postpone your work outside due to soil being soggy. Let us help you navigate this challenging, but extremely important, season in your lawn and garden spaces. Here are some tasks to tackle in April that will lay the groundwork for gorgeous lawns and healthy gardens this year.
1. Spring clean your garden and lawn.
Cleaning up your outdoor spaces after a Midwest winter is very important. Removing mulch and wind blown debris creates a clean canvas for your garden to bloom. Rake your lawn to prepare for fertilizer.
Get proactive about weeding. The moist soil will make it much easier to remove the entire weedling. Be sure not to add weeds to your compost pile! This can wreak havoc on your garden in the future.
Lay fresh mulch and tidy up the edges, preventing your lawn from creeping into your garden.
2. Time to get those Cool season Veggies in the ground
Time to start thinking of all the recipes you can make with fresh vegetables from your garden! This is a wonderful time to transplant your cool season veggies and root vegetables. So that means Spinach, Broccoli, Potatoes and much more should start making the move to your garden! Once they soil is good to work, it is a great time to plant!
3. Prune trees and perennials to encourage new growth.
Remove any dead or decaying branches from trees, but keep this to a minimum. You don’t want to negatively affect the bloom of your trees throughout the year.
If your perennials were free from mildew or pest damage in the fall then they are probably quite overgrown and ready for a trim. Grab your pruning shears and remove dead foliage and stems. Keep pruning throughout the course of the spring to maintain shape and general aesthetic appearance.
4. Fertilize your lawn.
If you were on top of your lawn care game and used a slow-release fertilizer in the fall, then your lawn thanks you. If you skipped this step for whatever reason then now is the time to give your lawn the nutrients it craves. You’ll want to wait for the soil to reach around 55 degrees Fahrenheit, grab some fertilizer, and follow the instructions on the bag! Consult with a garden center expert to find the right fertilizer for your lawn.
5. Dig out, dust off, and prep your lawn mower.
Your lawn mower is almost ready to be put back to work! Make sure your neighbors aren’t complaining about your unruly grass by doing some simple maintenance on your mower before it’s too late.
Change the oil, clean or replace the air filter, make sure it is cleaned of debris and grass clippings, check the wear and tear on the blades, and have gasoline on hand.
6. Getting Ready for Summer Veggies.
Warm summer days are on their way, even though that can be hard to believe with our never ending winters. Be thinking about what vegetables you’d like to see in your garden this summer and start those seeds indoors.
This is a great time to plan your summer garden, prep your beds and to start thinking about those seedlings. First, start thinking about what veggies will go where in your garden plot. Think about the needs of the plant (sun, water nutrients). Then start to amend and add nutrients into the soil. Lastly, if you have seeds, start hardening them off to get ready for the outside weather
While some veggies it may be too late to start from seed, like peppers, others you still have time to get a jump start in growing to get them ready to plant come Mid-May
7. Plant new trees for Earth Day (April 22nd) and Arbor Day (the last Friday in April).
This is a great family, or solo activity! Planting new trees can have many benefits including: positive environmental impact, housing and food for wildlife, increasing your property value, improving air quality, and many more. So get out and plant some trees this April.
Spring gardening and lawn care is not without its challenges here in Illinois. Between the ever changing weather and the amount of prep work that has to be done it can seem daunting, but the Barn Owl Garden Center is here to help every step of the way. We know you’re eager to get back out in the garden and watch your hard work bloom, or have your gorgeous lawn be the envy of the neighborhood. What Spring garden activity are you most looking forward to? Let us know in the comments, and make sure to follow us on social media to keep up with the latest products and announcements.