Garden Supplies

Garden Ramblings, Issue #056
April 15, 2009


April 2009

Monthly Musings on the Garden Scene


In this issue:
- Letter from the Editor
- Gardening Checklist For April and May In The Midwest
- Growing Concord Grapes
- How to Prune Your Garden Plants in the Spring
- Control Pond Mosquitoes - 5 Ways to Bite Back
- Special Offers
- Tailpiece



Welcome to the April issue of Garden Ramblings. As you know there are usually three contributions by guest authors each month, but this time I have found four interesting articles and cannot decide which one to leave out, so have included all four.

Before giving you the details I have an important announcement regarding future issues of his newsletter. Later this month I will be transferring the Garden Supplies Advisor website to a new hosting company. This will involve the use of a new autoresponder to email this newsletter. Unfortunately this means that you will have to sign up again to continue receiving future copies of Garden Ramblings. I know that this is a nuisance, but when you resubscribe you will find a new free ebook to download.

Here is the link:

Why don't you do it now before you forget?

Having got that out of the way I can introduce our first guest, Anne Jackson who gives us her "Gardening Checklist For April and May In The Midwest ". There's lots of practical advice covering both flowers and vegetables. "April and May in the Midwest is a very busy time for gardeners" she tells us, "So lets get busy, folks and prepare for another season in the garden".

For those people who don't live in the Midwest there's another article later on, but next we turn to a sweeter subject - Concord Grapes. Divne Pointer is a grape growing enthusiast and this shows through in her writing. If after reading this you're not inspired to plant your own grapevine, I'll be surprised!

Our next guest author is Jonathan Ya'akobi who has appeared in this newsletter on several previous occasions. He comes from an area with a dry Mediterranean climate and so his advice is geared to people who live in similar garden zones. Pruning is his topic and, perhaps more importantly, what not to prune.

Our final article is by Sean Roocroft whose subject is those annoying little insects mosquitoes. If you live in area where mosquitoes abound this does not have to mean that you cannot install a garden pond he tells us. He suggests "5 Ways to Bite Back" which will solve the problem once and for all.

As usual there is a Special Offers section with all the bargains that I've managed to find this month.

The video this month is "Blossom and Bluebells".

Enjoy the issue.



Blossom and Bluebells




Gardening Checklist For April and May In The Midwest
by Anne P. Jackson

As it begins to warm up in gardening zones 4,5 and 6 we can look forward to finally getting our hands dirty after another long winter. It's still not frost free yet - but things are definitely looking up!

The First Week of April: Indoors - Transplant warm-season vegetables to large containers. Pot up summer-blooming bulbs for planting out in May. Outdoors - Plant, transplant all hardy plant materials. Divide crowded early bulbs, summer and fall blooming perennials. Prune trees, and shrubs (except early spring bloomers) Fertilize emerging perennials lightly.

During the Month: Prune trees and shrubs and continue pruning shrub roses. Shear or mow to 5" winter damaged ground covers. Deadhead bulbs but leave foliage to yellow and wither in order to nourish bulbs. Apply pre-emergent weed killer to outdoor storage areas. In Zone 6 - continue spring cleanup and prepare your planting beds for spring planting. Service any irrigation systems and begin hardening off annual seedlings. In Zones 4 and 5 begin Spring cleanup (lawn and garden). Begin your rose care program and finish the major lawn care maintenance.

The First Week of May: Plant bare-root plants, evergreens, container grown trees and shrubs and ground covers, perennials, annuals, summer-flowering bulbs, tropical water lilies and containers when the danger of frost has past. Divide crowded early bulbs and perennials. Sow and transplant (with protection) warm-season vegetables.

During the Month: Complete pruning of winter-damaged trees and shrubs. Prune needle evergreens putting out new growth as needed. Continue to deadhead early spring-flowering bulbs, early annuals and perennials to promote rebloom. Fertilize needle evergreens. Feed annuals and container plants and bulbs as they finish blooming. As the month nears it's end continue Spring cleanup. Mulch and edge newly planted beds. Set stakes, poles and trellises. Begin weeding and thinning your vegetables. Begin watering if the season is unduly dry. Put fish in the lily ponds ad begin moving cool-temperature house plants outdoors for the summer. For you lawn in zones 4 and 5 finish the major cleanup work and fertilize cool-season grasses for the second time.

April and May in the Midwest is a very busy time for gardeners. Both flower gardens and vegetable gardens require quite a lot of cleanup after the hard and damaging winters. In the end, however, when everything begins to bloom and flourish, the Midwest has the most variety and beauty of all gardening areas! So lets get busy, folks and prepare for another season in the garden!


About the Author

Gardening is a passion shared by millions around the world. Out Of The Soil provides many gardening tips and has links to the best possible gardening resources on the internet. Check out the organic gardening guide for the best vegetables in YOUR garden!


Growing Concord Grapes
by Divne Pointer

Growing Concord grapes has become quite popular among home growers. The reasons are not hard to find. This variety of grapes has a distinct scent, is deep purple in color, marble shaped and very sweet which makes it the most sought after variety. Though there is a long tradition of grape growing of more than a thousand years, yet people started growing Concord grapes only towards the end of 1800s.

It was Ephraim Wales Bull who brought in the Concord variety of grapes. He first experimented with a wild variety of grapes found in Concord, Massachusetts, a region famous for harsh weather during winters. He found them to be resilient and they ripen early which means they are ideal for these conditions. Moreover, these grapes became famous within a short period and they won a few horticulture contests.

Growing grapes like Concord grapes has become a fashion and hobby for the people. Large numbers of people are attracted to their appealing taste and sent which have resulted in people growing Concord Grapes in their backyards. Concord vines spread evenly and are good on arbors and trellises. They grow to such an extent that they can provide enough shade to a large area. Various items like jams, juices and jellies can be prepared from these grapes. The natural color and its taste make it a great choice among home growers.

Today growing this variety of grape is becoming increasingly popular among vineyards as well. Ultimately it depends on the tastes of the end users. Some people may prefer a dry aftertaste while other may like a sweet taste. This has resulted in vineyards producing other varieties which have a high commercial value. However recent technical advancements have made it possible to produce dry wine even if Concord grapes are used. Dry wines can be produced from Concord grapes if they are slowed to ripen to a certain extent.

Though there are other grape varieties, growing Concord grapes has become popular also because of its incredible versatility. It is not possible to produce other products from most of the other varieties. Several companies like Welch's have grown due to Concord grapes.

Experiments in medical science have proved that Concord grapes are beneficial for our body as well. The grapes have antioxidant properties which help to lower the threat of heart diseases. That's the reason there are several products available in the market, prepared from Concord grapes and they have even received approval from the American Heart Association. Due to the increasing demand in the national market, it is an excellent time for growing Concord grapes.

Some people think that growing Concord grapes is tough. On the contrary, it is very easy and one of the easiest varieties to produce. Michigan, Pennsylvania and New York are the largest producers of Concord vines. They can adapt to cooler temperatures much more easily as compared to other varieties as they ripen before the advent of frost. Moreover, these grapes are not as choosy regarding the soil type. They do need soil a certain earth soil type that can retain a fair degree of moisture. Due to its high demand and simple method of growing Concord grapes, it has become a highly productive crop.


About the Author

Divne Pointer is a grape growing enthusiast. For more great tips on Growing Concord Grapes please visit


Home Garden Care - How to Prune Your Garden Plants in the Spring
by Jonathan Ya'akobi

Correct pruning in the spring is one of the most important factors in obtaining exciting results from your garden plants. As getting it right is largely about timing, it's important to be on the ball at this time of year with your secateurs, loppers and cutters. Spring being the onset of the growing season, and in dry Mediterranean climates, the primary growing season, is the ideal time for pruning most, but not all plants.

Other than with trees, which are a separate category, the purpose of pruning is to induce more and superior flowering, denser and more compact growth, or both together. Cutting back herbaceous perennials for instance, prevents the plants from becoming bald and leggy, while pruning shrubs maintains bushy, green growth from the top to the ground.

What not to Prune

Remember that deciduous trees and shrubs should never be pruned in the spring, because of the sap rising in the branches at this time. Deciduous plants, i.e. broadleaved plants that originate from cold winter climates, should be pruned during their dormancy in the winter, although light pruning is possible in the summer.

It is also important to know that flowering shrubs whose blooms develop from buds that originated in the previous spring will not flower if pruned now. Lilacs and some species roses are typical examples, and the complaint- "my rose bush never seems to flower" - is a common refrain.

Similarly, fruit trees that belong to this category will never produce fruit if the flower buds are accidentally removed by early pruning. As a rule therefore, delay pruning trees and shrubs that flower on the previous year's growth, until the end of the flowering, while being careful not to remove the spent flowers of fruit trees. Pruning Perennials

A common mistake with perennial bedding plants is to wait until the last of the flowers have withered before deadheading and pruning back the plants. Many species in use in hot, dry climate gardens fall into a semi dormant state in the summer, while flowering is their final burst of activity towards the end of spring.

It is far better to give up on the last 25% or so of flowers and cut the plants back in order to induce vegetative growth and thus cause the plant to "cover itself" in foliage before the onset of summer. This applies particularly to Ice Plants, African Daisies, and many herbs of Mediterranean origin, such as Sage, Artemisia, Lavender, and Thyme.

Pruning Shrubs and Bushes

Without pruning, most shrubs ape their larger cousins, and develop a tree-like habit in growth and form. Sometimes, a bush grown as a small tree can be a valuable and creative addition to the garden. But in general, the role of shrubs is to create a screen or background of dense, compact foliage. To wait until the middle of the summer, is to cause the plant to waist the valuable energy it has expended by its spring growth.

While tree pruning involves the careful and judicious removal of a small number of limbs, shrubs can be shortened by about a half of their height, while old wood can be removed altogether. This applies to flowering shrubs like Hibiscus, Trumpet Vines, or Cestrum, as to purely landscaping bushes.

About the Author

For FREE hands-on, expert information on gardening click here

Jonathan Ya'akobi

Your Personal Gardening Coach


Control Pond Mosquitoes - 5 Ways to Bite Back
by Sean Roocroft

When a female mosquito is looking for a new home to lay her eggs in she will inevitable choose still, stagnant water. Mosquitoes love still water but not moving water. If your pond does not having circulating water movement then this will quickly become a breeding ground! All is not lost however as there are ways and means to get rid of these unwanted guests.

Some species are common carriers of malaria, West Nile virus and dengue fever, whilst others are simply blood suckers that irritate the skin and leave the victim itching and covered in red bite marks.

The life cycle of this insect is a 4 stage process, starting off as an egg, then larvae, then pupae and finally as a fully fledged, flying, biting adult. During hot summer months the development from pupae to biting adult can be as little as a week.

Some spring species have only a single generation per year, whilst the vast majority of species produce several new generations each year.

People living in the warmer climates that suffer from these blood suckers are often reluctant to add a fish pond to their backyard, for fear of encouraging these pesky insects into their living space.

Ways to control Mosquito Once And For All

* When laying their eggs females will only choose still water. If your pond water is circulating or there is movement she will fly away to find another home. Moving pond water is also much healthier and encourages oxygen absorption.

* Get yourself some fish that eat mosquito larvae. Goldfish, killifish, mosquito fish (gambusia affinis) will eat the larvae quite happily. if you do decide to go for gambusia affinis, please note that they are unsociable creatures and will often attack other fish.

* Biological control products that contain the active ingredient Bti larvicide will kill the larvae. The larvae eat this naturally occurring type of bacillus and it kills them.

* Introducing toads to your garden pond is an excellent way to control the biting population. Toads will devour up to 100 mosquitoes and slugs in a single day. Their tadpoles will feast on the larvae also.

* Dragonfly are another predatory insect that will readily eat adult mosquitoes, whilst their young will devour the mosquito larvae.

* One of the most effective preventative methods is to use a propane powered trap, such as the Mosquito Magnet. This device will kill any biters that the toads and dragonfly have missed.

Do not let these biting pests put you off keeping a fish pond or water garden! Bite back and use some of the methods mentioned above. This will guarantee to calm these pests down.

About the Author

The author is an online marketer and webmaster of numerous water gardening websites.

How to save money and choose the right pond keeping equipment online, Guaranteed! Make your pond a safe place for your pond fish by learning the secrets of successful garden pond keeping. Go to to learn everything you need to know NOW!

Take advantage of my FREE pond calculators to make conversion between imperial and metric measurements quick, simple and accurate.



Special Offers

This is the third month when I have little to report. It's hardly surprising really when all keen gardeners are raring to go and need little inducement to go out and buy plants and garden supplies. Bargains are few and far between and it is back to the basic offers of free shipping and $$$ off when you spend $$$.


At Gardener's Supply Company look for the Outlet section at the bottom of the menu on the lefthand side of the page. There are still a few reductions in the gardening and landscaping sections.




Gardener's Supply Company



Dutch Gardens have finished their sales and are featuring their new perennials for spring, so free shipping is all that is on offer this month.



Dutch Gardens, Inc.





Gurney's Seed & Nursery Co have an interesting twist - buy one apple tree for $45 and get a second for 5 cents. Or you can buy one for $28.95. As you see from the banner, you can still save $20 when you spend $40 or more.



Shop at for your vegetable and flower seeds!





This month Nature Hills Nursery are offering a 20% discount on a selection of 90 planters.









The Kitchen Garden





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That's all until next month but in the meantime you can always look at my Blog Garden Supplies News

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