Compost: Healthy soil makes for a healthy, productive garden.

Plant a Tree.

Celebrate Earth Day or Arbor Day – both in April – by planting a tree and holding a dedication.

Prepare the Soil

Get your garden beds ready for summer crop seedlings. Squeeze some soil in your hands.  If it forms a solid ball it is still too wet.  The soil should crumble easily in your hands. 

Get Your Soil Tested

Before adding any fertilizers or amendments like lime to your soil, have it tested by your local cooperative extension service.  This is an affordable way to check the pH level and general health of your soil.  Plus, it’s a great way to introduce the concept of chemistry to your students!  One amendment you can always add: compost.  Remember, the healthier the soil, the better – and healthier – the yield.

Sow Seeds Indoors

Start seeds indoors for flowers and warm season crops, like tomatoes and eggplants.  In the classroom, watch for over- and under-watering and remove seedlings from South-facing window sills over the weekend.  Many times, we’ve returned on Monday to find tender seedlings fried to crisp by the increasingly hot sun.

Harden ‘em Off

Seedlings grown indoors need time to ‘toughen up’ before being planted in the ground. You’ll want to ‘harden off’ seedlings by gradually exposing them to outdoor conditions like wind, direct sunlight, lower moisture and cooler temperatures. About two weeks before planting outdoors, move seedlings outdoors to a partially shaded spot and then move them back inside at night. This is a perfect ‘job’ or reward for student helpers

Divide and Uncover

Late March and April are good times to divide perennial herbs and rhubarb, plant asparagus and strawberries, prune raspberry canes, and pull the straw off strawberry plants (just keep the straw nearby in case it gets cold enough to freeze again).

copyright Anne Nagro