For The Answer
Primetime Newspapers (Southside Reporter)
By Calvin R. Finch, PhD, SAWS Conservation Director, and Horticulturist
Week of March 28, 2005
April Gardening Calendar
In the vegetable garden, plant tomatoes, peppers, green beans, summer squash, beets and carrots. Recommended tomato varieties include Amelia, 444, Heat Wave, Sun Pride, Sun Master, Merced, Celebrity, Carnival, Bingo and Whirlaway. Cherry tomatoes also work well. Use transplants, mulch them with leaves, fertilize with slow release lawn fertilizer and irrigate with drip irrigation. Any of the pepper varieties will produce in San Antonio. Again, use transplants. For beans, carrots, beets, and summer squash visit plantanswer.com for the recommended varieties. Use seed.
Summer squash can be very productive, but they are vulnerable to squash bugs and squash borers. To keep the insects from destroying the plants use a Thiodan dust on the growing point every week.
Sometimes in April your spinach may be attacked by rust. The plants will yellow and the powdery red spores will be obvious. Pull the plants when the symptoms appear. All of the cabbage related cool weather crops will decline by the end of the month or early in May. Give your onions one more side dressing of slow release lawn fertilizer before mid-month.
In the flower garden, the snapdragons, pansies, dianthus, cyclamen, primula, and other cool weather flowers will bloom well until late April (into May if the weather is cool).
Zinnia seeds or transplants can be planted. I like Dreamland transplants because they resist mildew better than the other selections. It is important to plant your begonias in April if you want them to fare well in deep summer. They can be used in sun or shade if the transplants have time to grow enough foliage and roots. Moss roses and purslane are also good hot weather bloomers. They are especially nice in hanging baskets.
Plant hot weather perennials like lantanas, salvias, firebush, poinciana, and esperanza in April.
The old fashioned roses can survive most fungus and insect attacks, but modern hybrid tea roses fare better if they are sprayed weekly with a fungicide and insecticide. Organic gardeners can try neem oil (Rose Defense) and sulfur. Acephate and funginex are the traditional sprays for roses.
Peaches also need weekly sprays to escape severe insect and fungus problems. The organic controls are the same as for roses, neem oil and sulfur. Malathion and carbaryl (Sevin) are labeled insecticides. For a fungicide use captan, mancozeb, or other labeled fungicide. Apples require frequent spraying as well. Use the same sprays as for peaches. Pears, plums, pomegranates, persimmons, and blackberries usually do not need sprays.