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New England Nurseries’ Monthly Garden Guide: April

Spring has officially arrived and we are here to help guide you through your garden and plant tasks. Let’s dive into what you should be doing now:

Inspect and Clean Up:

  • Inspect your garden for any signs of winter damage, such as broken branches or heaved
  • Clear away any debris, fallen branches, or dead foliage that accumulated over
  • Remove any weeds that have started to

Soil Preparation:

  • Test the soil pH and nutrient Amend the soil as necessary to ensure it’s suitable for planting.
  • Work compost or organic matter into the soil to improve its structure and
  • Consider mulching to suppress weeds, conserve moisture, and regulate soil


  • Prune dead or damaged branches from trees, shrubs, and perennial
  • Shape shrubs and hedges as
  • Prune spring-flowering shrubs immediately after they finish


  • Start planting cool-season vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, carrots, and
  • Plant bare-root trees, shrubs, and roses before they break

Dividing and Transplanting:

  • Divide overcrowded perennials such as hostas, daylilies, and ornamental
  • Transplant any perennials or shrubs that need to be moved to a different


  • Apply slow-release or organic fertilizer to perennials, trees, and shrubs as they begin active
  • Avoid over-fertilizing, especially with nitrogen, as it can promote excessive leafy growth at the expense of flowers or

Pest and Disease Control:

  • Monitor plants for signs of pests and diseases, such as aphids, powdery mildew, or fungal
  • Use organic pest control methods whenever possible, such as hand-picking pests or using insecticidal
  • Consider installing physical barriers or row covers to protect young plants from


  • Water newly planted trees, shrubs, and perennials regularly to help establish their root
  • Monitor soil moisture levels and water plants as needed, especially during dry

With those tasks covered, we’ll see you next month!

Our Monthly Top 10

 This month’s top 10 feature is going to take a look at 10 easy-to-grow vegetables for beginners. So, whether you are looking to start a new garden, garden with kids, or looking to scale back your previous operation, we’ve got you covered with some non-labor-intensive veggies:

  1. Tomatoes: Tomatoes are relatively easy to grow and are highly They can be grown in patio containers or directly in the ground, requiring ample sunlight and regular watering. Periodically fertilize for a greater yield.
  1. Lettuce: Lettuce is fast-growing and doesn’t require much It can be grown in containers or garden beds and prefers cooler temperatures, making it perfect for spring and fall planting. Leafy greens don’t like constant hot, direct sun, so make sure to plant these in a place where they’ll get some afternoon shade.
  1. Radishes: Radishes are one of the quickest vegetables to grow, often ready to harvest in just a few They can be grown in containers or directly in the ground. Radishes are a salad favorite for many.
  1. Green Beans: Green beans are prolific growers and are well-suited for They thrive in warm weather and can be grown in containers or garden beds, requiring regular watering and support for climbing varieties.
  1. Zucchini: Zucchini plants are vigorous growers and produce an abundance of They prefer warm temperatures and plenty of sunlight. No pruning or fuss required!
  1. Bell Peppers: Bell peppers are relatively low-maintenance and produce colorful, flavorful fruits. They require full sun and regular Looking for a variety of colors in your diet? Look no further. Bell peppers come in a virtual rainbow of colors. The longer you allow the peppers to stay on the vine, the riper and sweeter they get.
  1. Cucumbers: Cucumbers are fast-growing and produce an abundance of crisp, refreshing They prefer warm temperatures and plenty of sunlight. Cucumbers are a versatile crop. You can eat them fresh, pickle them, or juice them for a refreshing and healthy summer beverage.
  1. Carrots: Carrots are root vegetables that are easy to grow in loose, well-drained soil. They prefer cooler temperatures and can be grown in containers or directly in the Hold on to the seed packet so you can track growth instructions. It can be very tempting to pull carrots early, but they’ll want a full 70 – 80 days of growing before they are ready.
  1. Spinach: Spinach is a cool-season vegetable that is easy to grow and highly It can be grown in containers or garden beds and prefers partial shade, similar to lettuce.
  1. Bush Peas: Bush peas are compact plants that don’t require support and are easy to grow for They prefer cooler temperatures and can be grown in containers or directly in the ground, producing sweet and tender peas for harvest.

These veggies are perfect for beginners because they are relatively forgiving of common gardening mistakes, such as overwatering or under-fertilizing, and they provide satisfying results with minimal effort. Another great fact is that most of these plants can be purchased as “starts” or pre-established plants. All you have to do is pop them in your garden and you are good to go. Root vegetables such as radishes and carrots will need to be planted from seed.

Gardening Trends

This month in Gardening Trends, we are looking at the mental health benefits of gardening. Much like the Forest Bathing movement, people are starting to look toward gardening activities for their mental well-being. It makes sense that gardening provides a good deal of physical movement, and exercise, as well as the added benefits of growing healthy fruit, berries, herbs, and vegetables, but studies are going a step further and looking at the holistic benefits as well.

Engaging in gardening activities fosters a sense of purpose and accomplishment as individuals nurture plants from seedlings to maturity. This connection to nature can enhance self-esteem and reduce feelings of isolation. The act of tending to a garden encourages mindfulness and promotes relaxation, allowing individuals to immerse themselves fully in the present moment and alleviate stress. Also, the rhythmic tasks involved in gardening, such as planting, weeding, and watering, can have a calming effect on the mind, reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Spending time outdoors exposes individuals to natural light and fresh air, which can improve mood and energy levels. Additionally, the sights, sounds, and scents of the garden stimulate the senses and evoke feelings of serenity and contentment. Cultivating a garden also provides a sense of control and autonomy, empowering individuals to make decisions and take action to create a nurturing environment. Ultimately, gardening promotes holistic well-being by nurturing both the body and mind, fostering a sense of tranquility, and promoting mental clarity and resilience.

Interested in learning more about this topic? Several health-related journals write about the therapeutic nature of plants such as The Journal of Public Mental Health, The Journal of Therapeutic Horticulture, and The Journal of Environmental Psychology, to name a few. So, whether it’s a few pots on your balcony or deck, or a sprawling suburban yard, roll up those sleeves, and get gardening!

Did You Know? – Fun Plant Facts

Did you know that plants can communicate with each other? They accomplish this through a network of chemical signals and interactions. When a plant is under attack by pests or pathogens, it can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air as a form of defense mechanism. These airborne chemicals can serve as signals to neighboring plants, alerting them to the impending threat. In response to these signals, neighboring plants may activate defense mechanisms, such as producing toxins or increasing the production of defensive compounds.

Additionally, plants can communicate through their root systems via chemical signals and symbiotic relationships with soil microorganisms. Mycorrhizal fungi, for example, can form mutually beneficial partnerships with plants, facilitating the exchange of nutrients and information underground. Through these intricate communication networks, plants can coordinate their responses to environmental stresses and threats, enhancing their chances of survival and resilience in their ecosystem.

Greenery or Gear: Monthly Plant or Tool Spotlight

This month, we’re digging (pun intended) the Barebones Hori Hori Ultimate multi-purpose gardening tool. ‘Hori Hori’ is a Japanese term (and tool) that roughly translates to ‘dig dig.’ What we love about it: at the base of its sturdy walnut handle is a stainless steel, flat pommel base that can double as a hammer to drive stakes or plant markers. The 6 ¾” pointed blade is perfect for digging holes for bulbs, as well as measuring planting depth with inch marks on the blade. The double-edged blade has a serrated side for sawing branches or twigs, and it features a notch that does double duty as a twine cutter or bottle opener! Grab your Hori Hori this spring and breeze through your gardening tasks.