Hands in the Dirt: MLT Gardening Tips for April 2022


Frost one day and almost 70 degrees the next! These spring days are exciting anyway.

In the vegetable garden, lettuce, spinach and radishes can all be direct sown. Peas can still be planted, but not for long. I started growing my peas indoors last year due to pest pressure from squirrels and slugs, but now rabbits are after my pea shoots. It’s hard to win! Even if you missed St. Patrick’s Day, potatoes can still be planted throughout the spring. Purchasing seed potatoes from a nursery can provide a wider variety of types, but old, forgotten grocery store potatoes that are starting to sprout will also produce plenty of new potatoes.

Tomatoes and peppers can always be started indoors, but like peas, you’re about to run out of time. If you miss the window to start tomato seeds, don’t worry, you’ll still have plenty of time to buy seedlings started in May when they can be transplanted outdoors. Looking for heirloom varieties in May and having trouble in stores? Or just want more plants? Tomato suckers, the side shoots that grow between the main stem and a leaf, can be rooted quickly enough to grow into another plant.

If the weather continues to stay warm, we may be able to start warm weather plants like basil, cucurbits (cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, zucchini) or melons early, but it’s best to wait until May if cool weather is expected. Additionally, cucurbits are particularly susceptible to having their roots disturbed, so either start the seeds in a plantable peat pot or transplant well before the start is root bound.

We had a great Seed Swap Event on March 5th. Over 35 people attended to share and take home the seeds of the year. The MLT BOG free seed library grew during the event, and we have a lot to share with everyone. There has been interest in another seed exchange event this spring, and while another seed-specific event is not currently scheduled, the library will be present at all BOG business meetings and events. Come see us at an event or contact us to arrange a time to browse the library on your own and grow!

A question about gardening? Ask for it on our Facebook page.

About the BOG

The Ballinger Organic Garden is a volunteer-led effort to develop a community garden at Ballinger Park. The BOG, in partnership with MLT Recreation & Parks and the MLT Senior Center and funded by a grant from the MLT Community Foundation, is currently in “Phase 0” while larger construction activities (creek restoration and trail installation) are completed. Phase 0 includes maintenance of existing raised beds and a garden plot on the south side of the MLT Senior Center in Ballinger Park. Phase 1 will involve the installation of a larger garden with plots available for community members to maintain. Want to volunteer, or do you have an idea of ​​what you would like to see in the future garden? Please let us know.

To stay up to date on what’s happening at BOG, including what’s developing, working groups and events, follow us on Facebook or Instagram.

— By Robyn Rice

Robyn Rice grew up in eastern Washington, pulling weeds and picking rotten fruit as part of the dreaded chores assigned by her father, a master gardener. Today, Robyn is a fisheries biologist for an environmental consulting firm and has been gardening in the Seattle area since 2010. Her scientific background leads to endless research into the “right” way to do things, but her enthusiasm and her sense of adventure leads her to garden fearless because hey, what could be worse?


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