Late April in the Zone 9 Garden

By Jay White, Contributing Writer

Last week I did a post about my favorite gardening tools. I did not realize I should have added rubber boots and a raincoat to the list! Can you believe all of this rain? 

I am thankful for the rain but it makes it very hard on us that can really only garden on the weekend.

Don’t want to sound like I am complaining though.  All of these spring rains gave us a great wildflower year and my yard has never been prettier. Plus I will soon start harvesting from a vegetable garden that has received absolutely zero supplemental water.


By now most of our spring and summer veggies are in the ground. This makes the early part of May a time of fertilizing and weeding. I have been making compost tea and using it to fertilize my tomatoes. You can do that or continue adding finished compost to your beds once a month.

I have a long time reader named Donna that is currently growing her own sweet potato slips. If you want to grow sweet potatoes you need to get busy if you are going to grow your own slips. July 4th is about as late as you can plant them and still get a respectable harvest in the fall. 

I once did an experiment with sweet potatoes.  I wanted to see if there was a benefit to growing them from slips or if they would do fine if they were grown like Irish potatoes. Turns out both methods yielded about the same.  However, in my opinion, growing them like Irish potatoes was a very easy, and sensible way to use up all of our sweet potatoes that were too small to cook or were sprouting in storage.


My wife and I have hundreds of yellow Hyperion Daylilies scattered throughout most of the beds on our property. I absolutely love these plants for two reasons. 

First, they came from my wife’s grandmother. Nana grew them for years and then after she passed we found a clump on her ranch. We dug half of the clump up and brought it home.

That was several years ago. We have now turned that one clump into more than 150 feet of lovely borders that bloom none stop during the month of May. And there is the second reason I love them. Daylilies are beautiful, reliable and prolific! If you don’t have any, I really suggest you give them a try.


Thanks to all of this rain most of our lawns are looking pretty good. If you have not already fertilized it is time. Regardless of whether you use chemical or organic fertilizers, put them out about every five to six weeks. 

Also, try setting your mower and little high and mow more frequently. This, combined with the fertilization, will create a thick, healthy lawn that chokes out weeds.


When putting out the fertilizer don’t forget your trees. They are putting on new growth right now and they will thank you for a good feeding. Apply fertilizer under the entire canopy with the heaviest application at the drip-line. The tree’s most active and “absorptive” roots grow at the drip line.

My peach and plum trees are currently covered in fruit. If you want bigger, sweeter fruit remove about 1/4 to 1/3 of the immature fruit from the trees. Last year a late freeze did this for me. We had the biggest and sweetest peaches ever because of this accidental thinning.


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