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Florida Gardening in April

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Florida Gardening in April
Florida gardening calendar in the month of April

Florida gardening calendar in the month of April. Clockwise from top left: ornamental grass, tomato plant, monarch butterfly caterpillar on a milkweed plant, bougainvillea plants

So last month, I started writing about Florida gardening and introduced my new favorite site, the Florida Gardening Calendar by the University of Florida International Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension.

It’s a new month, and the Florida Gardening Calendar has new advice for what to do in the month of April for north, central and southern Florida.

What’s new in my yard? Well, it’s a bit drier. April and May (and sometimes June) tend to be the driest months of the year, as we’re at the end of the dry season before hurricane season (aka the rainy season) begins. In some parts of the state, warm, dry weather means wildfire risk. In my yard, it means I need to make sure everything is getting enough water. I usually leave my sprinklers off and let rain take care of the yard. But I think we’re going to have to set the sprinkler system to come on automatically again for two days a week for the next couple of months.

We recently got some new milkweed plants to basically feed a new crop of monarch butterfly caterpillars. There were too many on one plant, and they ate every single leaf! I took my kids to a local independent nursery to buy some new plants to save the caterpillars from starvation. (Did I mention our yard is a backyard wildlife habitat certified by the National Wildlife Federation?) We enjoy seeing butterflies and birds in our yard nearly every day of the year.

As for the Florida gardening calendar, this is what caught my attention for the month of April in South Florida: plant bush beans, sweet potatoes and canna bulbs. I might try the vegetables once I clear some space from one of my square-foot gardening boxes. If I can find some good bulbs, I might try some canna lilies outside my bedroom window, where currently I don’t have much going on in the landscape.

April’s advice includes to divide grasses. I have a large clump of muhly grass that could be broken up and planted somewhere else in the yard. Spread the wealth! We also have fakahatchee and liriope grasses in the front yard (in different areas), but I won’t divide them. They look super thick and lush, yet aren’t too crowded.

In April, we’re getting close to the end of vegetable gardening season. The Florida gardening calendar says to watch tomato plants for insects and diseases. A few of my tomato plants are done producing fruit, and are worn out. I got a bumper crop of tomatoes out of one of them, so that plant was great. However, I have several more tomato plants that I planted more recently that are still producing tomatoes. I don’t use pesticides in my garden because I want to grow my food organically, so I do get some bugs. I am OK with losing a few tomatoes to the bugs if it means I can pick fresh, organic vegetables for my kids’ lunches.

So that’s it for us for April, at least for now.

Please tell me what you’ve done in your yard or garden in the comments.

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