Protect plants from late freezes. April 29 is the average date for the Rogue Valley's last frost.
Harden off seedlings before planting in the garden. After spending their infancy in protected greenhouses, even frost-tolerant perennials and annuals need to be acclimated. Place them outside for increasing periods each day and protect them in a sheltered area at night. After seven to 10 days, they are ready to go into the garden.
Prune early flowering shrubs, like camellias, after flowering ends. Small trees to prune this month include crape Myrtle, mugho pine, witch hazel and pussy willow. In general you should never remove more than one third of any plant you prune.
As we like to remind you, don't remove bulb leaves until they yellow. Depending on sun requirements, plant annuals such as peonies, 'Autumn Joy' sedum, lady's mantle, hosta or plant the taller Joe Pye weed (Eupatorium purpureum) around the bulbs to keep it lovely. To keep bulbs healthy make sure whatever you plant has minimal water requirements.
When purchasing perennials, try to buy them before they bloom, unless you simply must see the flower color. Check for compact growth, healthy foliage color, and a vigorous root system. Roots should not be growing out of the bottom of the pot, and should be white, not brown.
kitchen and orchard
Seeds: Get beets, chard, chives, kale, lettuce and onions into the ground. You will be able to plant a second crop in these areas. Leeks can be planted now for winter harvest.
Fertilize established artichoke plants with a high phosphorus fertilizer.
New grape vines can be planted in well-drained soil this month. Prune to only three buds and keep plants evenly moist for their first year.
Plant a kitchen herb garden
Check orchard trees for signs of disease. Get the spray schedule for home orchards, available at the Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center on Hanley Road in Central Point.
Overseed thin lawns or bare patches. Water as needed, so plants get a foothold before next month's warmer weather.
Fertilize established lawns
Join Jim Duncan of the Southern Oregon Native Plant Society for a wildflower walk in beautiful Lithia Park 1 to 2:30 p.m., Sat., April 5. Meet in the park at the Ashland Parks office at 340 S. Pioneer St. Bring hiking shoes, water and a snack. Fee is $5. To register visit http://ashlandparks.recware.com or call the center at 488-6606.
Rogue Valley Earth Day 2008 "Growing Our Common Ground" Saturday, April 19, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Celebrate Earth Day at the grounds of ScienceWorks Hands-on Museum, 1500 East Main Street, Ashland. Over 75 exhibits offering information on environmentally-friendly living and gardening. Family friendly fun includes live music and dance, kids' games and crafts, eco-friendly edibles, a free shuttle from Medford and much more. Free outdoor event. Visit www.RogueValleyEarthDay.net or call 488-6606 for more details.
Free Latex Paint Drop-off EventsFriday, April 18 & Saturday, April 19*, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
Drop off your latex paints for proper disposal. Household latex paints only; not open to business waste or oil based paints. Check out the free re-use table. Drop-off sites: 1.) Rogue Disposal & Recycling transfer station, White City, 779-4161 2.) Ashland Sanitary & Recycling transfer station, Ashland, 482-1471 3.) *Southern Oregon Sanitation, Grants Pass, 479-5335 (*Sat., April 19 only) 4.) **Allied Waste Services of Grants Pass transfer station, Grants Pass, 479.3371 (**Sat., April 19 only; no reuse table)
Spring Book Fair Book Shack Needs Donated Books Now to April 23
The Master Gardener Spring Book Fair Book Shack is looking for your used books to help benefit the Scholarship Fund. We are looking for books on the following topics: Gardening and Landscape (all aspects), Bees, Birds, Butterflies, Insects, Rocks, Varmints, Wildlife, Worms, How-to Books, Arts and Crafts, Cookbooks, Canning and Preserving. Please, absolutely NO magazines. Please drop off your books at the O.S.U. Extension Office on Hanley Rd.
Household Hazardous Waste Drop-off Event Friday, May 2 & Saturday May 3, 8am-4pm
Bring your household hazardous waste to Jackson County Expo Park. Cost is $5.00 per vehicle. Trade in your mercury thermometer for a digital one at no charge. Acceptable items include: cleaning supplies, batteries, pool and spa chemicals, lead and oil-based paint, paint removers, wood preservatives and light ballasts. Do NOT bring: fluorescent bulbs, medical or biological waste, explosives, radioactive materials, ammunition, commercial or industrial waste, asbestos, 55 gallon drums, propane tanks, fire extinguishers or other metal tanks. For more information, contact Rogue Disposal at 779-4161 or www.RogueDisposal.com.