Don’t be fooled by the fickleness of April
The first day of April is celebrated as All Fool’s Day, but in April the fickleness of the unstable weather patterns could allow us to be fooled or surprised all during the month and even bring us some leftovers from March. Of course, we can expect April showers to give a bit of gracefulness to the month and a bit of freshnesser, plenty of frost can also linger around and maybe some April snow that can melts our heart like Johnny Mathis sings in the “Twelfth of Never.” How true that song is because most April snow will not linger around all that long. Most cool weather vegetables are already in the soil and will thrive because they are cold-hardy and their danger risk is low.
Beware of setting out tomatoes early
April has begun. Frost and cold nights can be around all during the month even though weather prophets and forecasters predict the last frost date is April 15 and this date is definitely not written in stone. Jack Frost can linger around all during the month and even into the first few days of May. This is definitely not the ideal time to set out tomato plants even though there plenty of them showing up in hardwares, garden centers, Walmart, Home Depot, Ace Hardware, and Lowe’s Home Improvement. The risk of cold, frost, and colder nights is too great to risk a whole row of tomatoes. You can risk a few tomato plants such as Early Girl but only as many as you can cover up with plant cloths and plastic wraps. Wait until mid-May when temperatures warm up in the day and at night. My Northampton County grandma always said, “Don’t set out tomato plants as long as you are sleeping with a blanket on your bed. When the blanket you forget, then the tomatoes you can set!”
A few trademarks to remember in April
April is known for many “trademarks” and calling cards. First of all, spring is still only 11 days old and April is in its first day with plenty of cold days and nights, plenty of frosty days and nights. The truth is frost can occur almost any night in April and some snowflakes can fall, but most likely not much to coat the ground. Some of April’s sure “trademarks” are a few graceful flowers and April showers a few snow showers plenty of frosty mornings and nights, leftover March winds, the first pollen of the season, the snow white dogwoods and the first leaf buds on the maples and least of all there is plenty of “nip” around during April mornings.
Last call for Irish potatoes
As we move into April, the days are running out to plant a row or bed of Irish potatoes. They should be planted in the next seven days to assure harvest in July. Do not cut seed potatoes but set out whole potatoes to avoid rot, mold, mildew, fungus, rodents, and groundhogs. Apply a layer of peat moss in the bottom of the furrow before setting out the potatoes and apply another layer of peat moss on top of the potatoes. Set the seed potatoes about 10 to 12 inches apart and cover peat moss with a layer of Plant-Tone organic vegetable food. Hill up soil on both sides of the furrow and tamp down soil with the hoe blade for solid soil contact. After potatoes sprout, side dress with Plant-Tone organic vegetable food every 25 days and hill it into the soil. When potato vines develop leaves, cover around base of plants with a layer of crushed leaves.
Time plant Knock-Out roses
As we move into April, new life is awakening in the rose bushes, in nurseries, garden centers, Walmart, Home Depot, Ace Hardware, and Lowe’s Home Improvement. Roses are on display and they can now be set out to start a new and colorful season. You can choose from many types and colors of roses from hybrid tea to flora bunda, but the very best is the Knock-Out variety which is a bush type rose in colors of red, yellow, white, and pink. They don’t produce long canes which makes them a favorite. When setting out rose bushes, dig a hole a size larger than the root ball. Fill the bottom of the hole with a layer of peat moss and fill hole with layer of peat moss and fill the hole with water and allow it to soak in. Place the root ball in the hole after the water soaks in. Mix half soil and half peat moss and a layer of Rose-Tone organic rose food and water again. When purchasing rose bushes never buy roses in plastic bags or roses that are packed in sawdust because they are doomed to begin with. Always buy roses that are in peat pots filled with quality potting medium or the trademark plastic containers that the Knock Out roses are packed in.
Rose-Tone the best food for roses
This product is totally organic and has been around for 94 years. It has a fine texture that roses quickly respond to. It is sold in three and five pound plastic zippered bags that are easy to handle and apply to rose bushes. It comes in cerise colored bags. It costs more than most organic rose foods, but it is so much better.
Pepsi pot roast and mushroom gravy
This is a clean and easy to prepare a beautiful chuck roast and it can cook overnight in the crock pot. You will need one four- or five-pound beef chuck roast, one can Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup, one envelope of Recipe Secrets Beefy Onion Soup mix, one 16 ounce bottle of Diet Pepsi, one tablespoon soy sauce, half teaspoon pepper, one teaspoon Worcestershire sauce. Place the roast in the crock pot. Mix cream of mushroom soup, Recipe Secrets Beefy Onion Soup mix, soy sauce, salt, pepper and the Worcestershire sauce and mix into the roast. Pour in the 16 ounce Diet Pepsi. Cover the crock pot and cook on high for seven hours. If gray is not thick enough, mix a few teaspoons cornstarch in a cup of cold water and add enough to reach thickness you desire. If gravy is too thick add a little water.
Early spring fragrance of Jasmine and violets
The fragrance of hyacinths has now cycled out and replaced with the sweet essence of Carolina Jasmine and American Violets. In early spring, it is amazing that there are always flowers that have sweet scents that please the nostrils and awaken the honey and bumble bees. Every season of the year produces a special beauty of its own.
Wild onions and dandelions on spring lawns
The wild onions and dandelions invade the early spring lawn. They are both difficult to control because they have roots that are deep and dandelions have roots that are like drill bits. They will be around from now until warm days and nights arrive. The best way to control them without disturbing the lawn is to use the weed-trimmer on the wild onions and cut them close ground level. You can also set mower blades closer to the ground and mow down the onions. For dandelions, use the weed trimmer to trim the flowers before they develop seed puffs. They can also be trimmed with the mower blades on a low setting. One positive attribute of both dandelions and wild onions is they are both green and warmer weather will shorten their days on the spring lawn.
The American bee balm alive with green
The American bee balm survives the winter on the back of the front porch. It stays wrapped in a layer of plastic grocery bags and a couple of pieces of card board glued together to keep out cold winter winds. It is watered lightly every ten days. Before winter begins it is trimmed back so it can be better protected all during winter.
Perennials of the month: Forget-Me-Nots
Two perennials that we love most because of their royal blue flowers are the Veronica and Forget-Me Nots. Their bright blue blooms amid dark green foliage that cascades over the sides of the containers. They thrive in a semi-sunny location and need a drink of water once a week. We feed them once a month with Flower-Tone organic flower food which is fine – texture and all flowers positively respond to it.
The season of the dogwood is almost here. The budding of the dogwood seems abundant and it promises to be a productive year. In two weeks or less the white of the dogwoods should dot the roadways and woodlands of Stokes, Yadkin and Surry counties and the pink of the Judas trees or red buds will join them for a beautiful display of early spring beauty.
Stocking up on a few bottles of fish emulsion
Alaska fish emulsion is one of the best of the liquid organic foods for any vegetable in the garden and it gives all growing things a quick boost of energy and a productive jump start. When mixed with the proper amount of water and poured over the vegetable plants, you can expect quick organic response. It comes in one quart bottles and smells like fish, but do not let the odor mislead you, this is a powerful solution that plants respond to quickly. Follow instructions on the bottle and use a sprinkling can to apply it.
Hoe hoe hoedown
“Just Call Me Tex.” Cowboy: “My name is Tex.” Friend from North Carolina: “Are you from Texas?” Cowboy: “Nope, I’m from Louisiana but who wants to be called, Louise?”
“Little Drummer Boy.” Mother: “I don’t think our neighbor upstairs likes for Micky to play the drums.” Father: “What makes you think such a thing?” Mother: “Because this afternoon he gave Micky a knife and asked him to see what was inside the drum.”
“Bad News Bearers.”- The husband said to his wife, “Shall we watch the six o’clock news and get indigestion or wait for the eleven o’clock news and get insomnia?”
The April Almanac
All Fool’s Day is celebrated on Saturday, April 1. Sunday, April 2, is Palm Sunday. Passover begins at sundown on Wednesday, April 5. The moon will be full on Thursday, April 6, and will be named “Full Pink Moon” or Paschal moon. It will rise after sunset and may look pinkish in color. Good Friday is Friday, April 7. Sunday, April 9, is Easter. The moon reaches its last quarter on Thursday, April 13. Thomas Jefferson’s birthday is Thursday, April 13. Thursday, April 20, there will be a new moon on the western horizon. Earth Day will be celebrated Saturday, April 22. The moon reaches its first quarter on Thursday, April 27. Arbor Day will be Friday, April 18.
Full Pink Moon
There will be a “Full Pink Moon” rising on the eastern horizon on Thursday evening after sunset. This moon occurs during the week of Passover and is also known as the Passover moon or Paschal Moon. Unusual names for this moon are “Geese Egg Laying Moon” and “Full Budding Moon.” A moon fact for April is that after a full moon the nights following the waning moon, the moon will rise about 50 minutes later per night.