Each day in April I watch the forecast intently. "Dare I plant my garden?"
I've learned the hard way not to be impatient with plants that enjoy warm feet and sun on their face. Too many Aprils have fooled me with stretches of warm spring weather, only to turn so windy and wet that baby plants drown or, at best, remain weak.
A few years ago I planted seedlings in April, then new plants right next to them in May. The May plants became vigorous, rapidly outgrowing their neighbors. As a thank you for planting them in warm soil, they also gave me more produce.
So, now I enjoy April spring days for what they are. I take the backroads to do errands, enjoying orchards filled with blossoms. I relish painting by the fireplace with the last fires of the season while rain blows on the windows. I treasure all of the bouquets of tulips and lilacs that fragrant the house with spring.
These I have loved since I was little:
Wood to build with or to whittle,
Wind in the grass and falling rain,
First leaves along an April lane;
Yellow flowers, cloudy weather,
Rivers deep, the smell of leather.
Fields newly plowed, young corn in rows,
Back-country roads, and cawing crows,
Stone walls with stiles going over,
Daisies, Queen Anne’s Lace and Clover,
Night tunes of crickets, frog songs too,
Starched cotton cloth, the color blue,
Bells that ring from white church steeple,
Friendly dogs and friendly people.
-Elizabeth Ellen Long-
Still, us diehard gardeners can't bring ourselves to stay indoors when April skies are blue. So, what can we do during April's fickle weather? Here are a few plants that can weather April storms and cool nights...
Leaf greens such as Kale, Collards, Lettuce and don't forget the Spinach.
Beets, Parsnips and Turnips.
Peas with or without edible pods
Swiss Chard (I love the rainbow colors)
Broccoli, Cauliflower and Cabbages.
Don't be impatient; these may take a while to sprout. But, they can all tolerate a light frost and even a small dusting of snow when they are young.
With getting rid of any weeds that may have sprouted, working compost into the soil and planting these spring crops, your muscles will be telling you that it is that gardening time of year once again!