Mid-April is a great time to start planting vegetable seeds | THE COMPLEAT HOME GARDENER

You can start warm-season crops indoors now for setting out into the garden later after the weather has warmed.

The third week of April is a good time to plant seeds of many vegetables such as lettuce, cabbage, carrots, peas, kale, Swiss Chard and radish.

You can start warm-season crops indoors now for setting out into the garden later after the weather has warmed. This means you can start tomatoes, peppers, melons and eggplants from seeds if you sow them indoors or in a greenhouse.

Go ahead and purchase your favorite coleus, petunias and fuchsia starts now but do not leave these tender plants outdoors overnight. A good trick is to place your newly purchased flower and vegetable starts into a wheelbarrow, letting them enjoy sunshine, light rain and spring breezes now so they can harden off a bit. Then wheel the contents back under the protection of a patio or garage each night until mid May.

Q. I planted clematis into a large pot a few years ago and I love how it blooms on my patio. Every spring I give this vine the pony tail cut like you suggested in a class a few years ago. My question is how long can a clematis live in a pot that is about 18 inches deep by 12 inches wide? It bloomed for almost six months straight last summer. P.T., Sumner

A. Your clematis must be heeding the advice “bloom where you are planted” so why move a happy plant?

Some clematis bloom for a dozen years before they need repotting. You will know when to remove a vine, perennial or shrub from a pot by noticing a decline in the health of the plant.

One way to keep potted plants happy is to add a fresh mulch of compost or moo doo on top of the potting soil every spring and gently work this into the top few inches of soil. Every spring potted plants should be fertilized using a slow-release plant food. Then heavy bloomers such as annuals, roses and clematis appreciate a liquid fertilizer as well.

Remember not to fertilize clematis when it is in bloom or bud – a big meal will hastens petal drop.

Q. I have a sage plant “Hot Lips” in a large pot and also a fuchsia that was in a windowbox last summer and they both look like they have survived the winter because I see new leaves sprouting near the bottom of each plant. My question is when is it safe to cut back the old, dead looking top growth on these plants? C.G., Auburn

A. Congratulations on your green thumb – and thanks to our mild winter many plants will get a second summer this year. The end of April is a good time to cut back old growth but only if you see new leaves appearing. Use sharp hand shears to cut back to just above the sprouting new leaves. Then add some fertilizer because pruning always stimulates growth by waking up a once dormant plant.

Q. I love lilacs but have moved to a smaller yard. I heard that there are some dwarf lilacs available. Can you tell me the name? J., email

A. There is a more compact lilac called ‘Miss Kim’ but even this lilac will grow to eight feet tall and as wide.

If you want spring color in a small space a better choice would be a dwarf rhododendron or compact azalea or fragrant dwarf daphne, early blooming heathers and the ground hugging ‘Magic Carpet’ spiraeas. Add some dwarf evergreens for winter structure then surround your shrubs with compact summer blooming flowers such as begonias, alyssum, impatiens and geraniums. You can have a big color impact in a small space with the right choice of plant material.

Tip: Rhododendrons with the smallest leaves will be the slowest growers. Rhododendrons with large leaves will grow into tree size plants.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@rentonreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.rentonreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Life

‘Don’t assume it can’t happen to you’

Federal Way resident Evelyn Allcorn shares story of her husband’s battle with COVID-19 after he tested positive on March 28.

Auburn dance studio finds creative solutions to keep going during COVID-19

Pacific Ballroom Dance moves to online classes; group returned home early from national competition

Renton March 2020 Youth of the Month
March Rotary Youth of the Month

Rotary members recognize three Renton School District high school students each month… Continue reading

Courtesy of HLN. A screenshot from a preview of an episode of a new true crime show that highlights the Ingrid Lyne case, where a Renton mother was murdered.
Infamous Renton crime to make TV debut

It’s been over two years since a man was found guilty for… Continue reading

Schindler’s legacy bounces along at Baden

CEO of Baden Sports died unexpectedly in February

Photos courtesy of Linda Smith
Celebrating Black Excellence

Local organization honors Black History Month

Alyx Chamberlain, Jennifer Keil and Mario Pilapil, courtesy of Rotary Club of Renton.
Teachers of the Month for February

As part of their commitment to education, and to celebrate teachers in… Continue reading

Photo by Haley Ausbun
                                During halftime, athletes and coaches have individual meetings, while parents watch a video prepared by Highlands Community Church for whatever biblical principle teams are learning about that week at the Upward sports league.
Sports that help kids grow

Local church league gives to neighborhood

Local scouts greet attendants at the Renton First United Methodist Church on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020. Photo courtesy of Patrick Montemerlo.
Local scouts celebrate big milestones

Scouts in Boy Scouts of America celebrated Scout Sunday, a national opportunity… Continue reading

Luis Hernandez. Courtesy of Renton Schools
He didn’t care much for class until his teacher encouraged his photography

Local Renton student’s photographs featured in exhibit in Spain

February’s Rotary Youth of the Month

Rotary members recognize three Renton School District high school students each month… Continue reading

Photo by Haley Ausbun. An annual event, Renton High School students showed off their culture, heritage and interests through the 2020 Renton Multicultural Show, Feb. 7 and Feb. 8 at the IKEA Performing Arts Center. The student hosts of the event opened up by saying that Renton High School holds the event each year as a chance to get their one big family into the room together in “reunion.” Performances included the Multicultural Fashion Show, Black Student Union, Latinx Student Union, K-pop and J-pop performances, Filipino Club and many more.
Renton High shows off its culture

Photos by Haley Ausbun. An annual event, Renton High School students showed… Continue reading