If you've already started your seeds indoors, this month will be busy with transplanting and potting up. A seedling is big enough to transplant when it has two or three true leaves. The Maritime Northwest Garden Guide suggests transplanting in the afternoon or evening, when the plant's stomata begins to close, minimizing water loss. Handle seedlings gently, lifting by their seed leaves, which will eventually fall off, thus reducing damage to essential true leaves. Once the seedling has been transplanted into a larger pot, gently bring the soil around the roots and water with lukewarm water, avoiding watering the fragile leaves.
Tasks in the garden this month:
Add bedding to worm bin
Hang mason bee houses
Plant berries and bare-root plants
Set slug traps
Peas, all varieties
Sow indoors to transplant:
Plants tenderly raised indoors require a bit of adjusting, to transition outside into more extreme temperatures and conditions. Unlike indoor controlled temperatures, our outdoor plants are exposed to winds that can dry leaves, direct sun that can scorch and cool temps that can slow down growth. Hardening off transplants will give your seedlings a better chance of survival. Depending on the variety of plant, it can take from a week to a month of conditioning to outdoor exposure. Bring plants outside for gradually lengthening periods of time. Expose plants to filtered sunlight, gradually increasing over time. Taking time to acclimate your seedlings will pay off in the end, with better survival rates and healthier plants.
April is the month of the slug!
Mild winters and wet springs are heaven for the slug community, providing the perfect habitat and food sources for our slimy neighbors. Slugs prefer moist, cool ground cover to hide in and eat. They love hiding in mulch, bricks and rocks.
Reduce slug populations in your garden by clearing dead and low-hanging leaves around plants.
Hunt for slug holdouts at night and early morning, following slime trails and looking under leaves and inside foliage. Slugs burrow into the top 2inches of soil, so scratch the surface to find any sneaky guys hiding just out of sight.
Some folks swear by beer traps, other find the copper strip barrier to be most effective. I myself have found the early morning hunts most useful and least invasive. Explore what works for you, and allows you to save your precious veg from decimation. Slugs are very persistent and haven't much else to do all night but eat. Make sure it's not your garden they are dining on.