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Monthly Home Gardening Activities
Things to do in April
- Finish pruning apples and other fruit trees. For information on the care of fruit trees plan to purchase “Growing Fruit Trees in Maine” for $9.50 from your county Extension Office or available online from our bookstore or view it for free online. It contains information on how to grow fruit trees under Maine conditions, including cultural practices for apple, pear, peach, cherry, plum, and apricot trees. It covers varieties adapted to Maine, rootstocks, planting, early care, fertilization, pollination, pruning, lack of fruitfulness, pests and diseases, and preparation for winter.
- Take soil samples and send to the University of Maine Analytical Lab. When you receive the soil test report plan to amend the garden as recommended. The cost is now $15. Get your form online or go to your UMaine Extension county office for the form and mailer box.
- Till only when soil is dry enough. Tilling wet soil will ruin the soil structure for the rest of the summer! Once you have tilled your garden some of the first vegetables that can be planted include peas, lettuce and spinach.
- Rake the remaining leaves off the lawn. In late April plan to reseed bare spots in the lawn. For help on establishing a new lawn, check out Bulletin #2367, Establishing a Home Lawn in Maine.
- Refresh mulch around landscape trees and shrubs once the ground has thawed and warmed. Beware of “tree volcanoes” that have mulch built up around the trunk of the tree. Where the mulch contacts the trunk can trap moisture and encourage disease and insect attack on the tree.
- Now is a good time to “rejuvenate” old, overgrown shrubs by removing 1/3 of the thickest stems. Cut them off right at the ground. Next spring, you can remove another 1/3 and finish the job in 2012.
- Lime/sulfur spray on raspberries before the leaves are at the 1/2 inch green stage to control anthracnose, spur blight, and cane blight.
- Order a copy of Pest Management for the Home Vegetable Garden in Maine, Bulletin #2188 for $6.90.
- Enjoy the fall bulbs that you planted. The Daffodils, Crocus, Hyacinth, and Tulips will be showing their colors this month.
- Plan your landscape with summer cooling in mind. Small to medium height deciduous shad trees planted near the east and west facing walls of your house can provide cooling shade to the walls. To shade the roof, plant taller deciduous trees planted at the southeast and southwest corners of your yard, but keep the true south side of your house tree-free to get all the solar gain in the winter. Place large trees no closer than 20 feet from the house. Three properly placed trees can save an average of $100 to $250 in heating and cooling costs annually.
- Planting a thick line of evergreen trees 40 to 100 feet from the house to block the cold northwesterly winds and evergreen foundation plantings about 5 feet away from the house to create a “dead air” space next to the house will help reduce your winter heating costs.
Things to do in June
- Finish planting your cold susceptible transplants like tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, squash, etc.
- To assure a continuous supply of vegetables during the summer and fall consider succession planting of vegetables like beans, beets, lettuce, radish, corn, etc.
- Annual flowers should receive regular fertilizer during the summer to maintain growth as well as at least an inch of water (rain or irrigation) each week.
- Dead head flowers to maintain flowering habit during the summer.
- Check your vegetable and flower gardens for insect or disease pests at least once a week. Don’t know what is causing damage? Bring a sample into the UMaine Extension county office or send us a digital picture of the problem.
- Start harvesting your early crops like lettuce, spinach, etc.
- Keep weeds under control with tillage, hand picking, and mulching.