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Gardening Tips: It's April and time to...

Take a soil test. It's easy! 

This month, it's a great time to test soil in your yard and garden for fertility, pH, and organic matter content. Is your soil deficient in nutrients like nitrogen and phosophorus? What's the soil texture? Does it have enough organic matter? These are important questions for good plant growth. For vegetable gardening, soil tests detect issues in the soil that could impact the health and yield of your vegetable plants.  
   
Anyone can get a basic lawn and garden soil test for $17, by mailing a sample to the University of Minnesota's Soil Testing Laboratory.

For details on how it works, read all about it in this Y&G News article:

Baby your spring bulbs

Are your spring bulbs showing yellow stems? Push aside leaf mulch from emerging spring bulbs to allow sunlight to reach them. In case of frost or below freezing temps, leave leaf mulch nearby so you can pull it over your bulbs for protection depending on the weather. 

Make your own garden log

I don't know about you, but it's hard for me to remember how my garden grows from year to year. That's why it's a good idea to take pictures of your yard and garden as plants emerge. Label your photos with plant names and date, and save them as a reference. It's always good to look back and remember if plants were crowded, or didn't do so well--you might want to dig them up and replace them! 

Get your hands dirty now

Early April is a good time to start seeds for tomato plants, along with a couple of cool season crops like kale and leaf lettuce.  Mid to late April, you can begin seeds for squash, melons and cucumbers. 

For details on what seeds to start and when:
It's time to Start Your Seeds!

And here's a great "how-to" Extension resource:
Starting seeds indoors

Keep the kids involved in green things! 

Make plant labels for this year's garden. Draw pictures of the plant, flower or vegetable on recipe cards and "laminate" with packing tape. Tape or staple to popsicle sticks. 

Happy planting! 
--Gail Hudson, Y&G News Editor

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