New Plants in April

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In St. Louis, Missouri, April is always a month for safety first when it comes to new plants. Many new plants that I buy or have started in the basement are much better off outside, but with temperatures below freezing at times, you have to figure out how to protect the plants.

I don’t plant until after May 1st, so I have to keep on top of the weather for all of April.

Here is one way I use to protect my plants.
I put them on a rolling shelf unit. When the temperature is above 45 degrees, I roll out the plants and give them water and sunshine. I don’t put them in full sun all day, but will start them out in sunshine and then move them to a shady area.

At night when the temperatures go below 40 degrees, I bring them inside the garage for protection.

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Raised Beds

If you are looking to put in a raised bed garden, here is a nice video. Schools in particular may prefer the three foot width to make it easier for kids to garden in the bed.

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When to Plant?

I am already getting questions on when to plant in the St.Louis area, so I thought I’d do a little research on the weather averages.

May 1st is my standard answer for best planting date and it seems to stand the test of time. While you can certainly put in tougher plants like pansies, most annuals and more tender plants need the warmer temperatures.

If you look at the graph below, you can see that while the Normal Lows for April are in the 50’s by the end of the month, the Record Lows can be in the 20’s and 30’s. The Climate Graphs for May also show that there are no instances of freezing weather in the last fifty years.

May 1st seems to be a good planting date in this area. If you want to live dangerously you can plant earlier, but I would look at the 10 day forecast to be safe.

Temperature-Averages-Saint-Louis

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Free Tropical Milkweed Seeds

monarch-dsc04726I have some milkweed seeds that I’d be glad to share. The seeds are Tropical Milkweed, Asclepias curassavica.

Plant the seed so it is slightly covered and keep warm and moist to start. If you start these inside, you can get a a head start on spring. Plant when all danger of frost is gone – usually around May 1st in St. Louis Missouri.

Another option is to plant the seeds in the soil and let them come up naturally.

You can pick these up at Saturday’s presentation – March 3rd – 1 p.m. at Whitecliff Recreation Center – Crestwood, Missouri.

OR – please send a SASE – Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope to:

Free Milkweed Seeds
9016 Robyn Rd
St. Louis, MO 63126

The best way to start these seeds is with bottom heat. 

80-degrees-covered

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

80 degrees and seeds slightly covered seems to be the best. I did put the plastic top on this to keep in the heat and moisture.

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Butterfly Gardening with Native Plants

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Sue’s Backyard

Tuesday, March 27th.

7:00 p.m. at the Oak Bend branch of the St. Louis County Library
842 South Holmes, St. Louis, MO 63122 (near I-44 and Big Bend).

Presentation by Susan Leahy and Dawn Weber.

Sue and Dawn are two of the best St. Louis experts on native plants.
They both have front and back yards filled with native plants.

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What to Plant?

While most of my emphasis is on growing specific plants for butterflies, there are many other insects and birds which I enjoy. Unfortunately, numbers seem to be decreasing every year. Here is a good video on what we can all do to bring nature back to our yards.

 

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Seed Test Results

Here are the results of my seed tests – they will be updated daily.

Seeds From My Garden

  • Agastache regular – 6 days
  • Agastache  Pink Rapp – 5 days
  • Blazing Star spicata
  • Bronze Fennel – 4 days
  • Cleome
  • Coreopsis lance leaf – 8 days 
  • Coreopsis Plains – 4 days – 100%
  • Dianthus barbatus – 6 days
  • Echinacea – CS
  • Echinacea – no CS
  • Gaillardia small – 5 days
  • Globe Amaranth pink – 3 days – 100%
  • Gomphrena Fireworks –
  • Helenium amarum – 4 days – 100%
  • Maltese Cross – 7 days
  • Marigold –
  • Partridge Pea – 
  • Rue –
  • Salvia pink – 4 days
  • Salvia purple – 6 days
  • Tropical milkweed – 6 days
  • Verbena hastata –
  • Verbena bonareinsis
  • Zinnia angustifolia – 3 days
  • Zinnia profusion pink –

Seeds I bought for 2018

  • Ajuga reptans –
  • Alyssum Royal Carpet – 3 days
  • Creeping Thyme Magic Carpet – 6 days
  • Creeping Thyme Mother of Thyme – 4 days
  • Pussytoes Red – 4 days
  • Rock Cress Cascading
  • Sedum acre – 4 days
  • Sedum Dragons Blood – 3 days
  • Sedum oreganum – 3 days
  • Snow in Summer – 6 days
  • Veronica repens – 6 days

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