|B. Rosie Lerner|
HOME (Indoor plants and activities)
Start seeds of warm-season plants, including tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, marigolds, zinnias and petunias, indoors for transplanting later to the garden.
Harden off transplants started earlier in spring before planting outdoors--gradually expose the young plants to outdoor conditions of wind, brighter sunlight and lower moisture.
Apply fertilizer to houseplants according to label directions as days grow brighter and longer and new growth begins. Foliage plants require relatively high nitrogen fertilizer, while blooming plants thrive on formulations that are higher in phosphorus.
Keep Easter lily in a bright, cool location, out of direct sunlight. Water as soil begins to dry. The yellow pollen-bearing anthers inside the flower can be removed by pinching to prevent staining of the petals.
YARD (Lawns, woody ornamentals and fruits)
Plant a tree in celebration of National Arbor Day, April 26. Bare-root stock should be planted before new top growth begins. Balled-and-burlapped and containerized stock can still be planted later in spring.
Fertilize woody plants before new growth begins. Two pounds of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet should be sufficient.
Complete pruning chores, removing dead and injured branches first.
Apply a prebloom, multipurpose orchard spray to fruit trees.
Remove winter coverings from roses, but keep mulch nearby for protection from late freezes. Prune and fertilize as needed.
The best way to prevent crabgrass is by encouraging a healthy stand of lawn grass through proper fertilization, watering, and mowing. However, if herbicide application is needed, apply a pre-emergent product that is labeled for crabgrass prevention. Approximate dates of application are April 1 to April 20 in southern Indiana and April 21 to May 10 in northern Indiana, though applications can be made up to a month earlier and still be effective most years.
GARDEN (Vegetables, small fruits and flowers)
Plant seeds of cool-season crops directly in the garden as soon as soil dries enough to be worked. When squeezed, soil should crumble instead of forming a ball. Cool-season crops that can be direct-seeded include peas, lettuce, spinach, carrots, beets, turnips, parsnips and Swiss chard.
Plant transplants of cool-season crops, such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi and onions.
Plant or transplant asparagus and rhubarb crowns. For best plant establishment, do not harvest until the third year after planting.
Plant sections of certified, disease-free potato "seed" tubers.
Allow foliage of spring-flowering bulbs to remain in place after blooms fade. Leaves manufacture the food reserves, which are then stored in the bulb for a repeat showing next year.
Plant hardy perennials, such as daylilies and delphiniums.
Start tuberous begonias and caladiums indoors for transplanting to garden later.
Remove winter mulch from strawberries, but keep mulch handy in case late frosts are predicted and to help keep weeds under control.
Plant or transplant strawberries, raspberries and other small fruit.
Prune grape vines to remove dead or weakened limbs, and repair support trellises as needed.