Garden Timetable January - April

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Do you have your garden timetable ready? This article first appeared in the Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens Newsletter in 1980. It was written and published by Gaye Mote. Some great suggestions to help you make your garden timetable plan.


  • Windows near houseplants should be kept clean to let in more light during the dark winter months. 
  • Wash leaves of plants so that they can take advantage of all available light.
  • Do not feed foliage houseplants this month.
  • Order garden seeds. 
  • Brush snow off evergreens so that they do not break or become deformed.
  • Sow geranium seeds this month. 
  • Begin pruning fruit trees and spread compost and wood ashes around their bases.
  • Examine bulbs and tubers stored indoors. Discard any that show signs of rot.


  • This is a good time to start repotting houseplants now that the days are longer and plants are beginning to grow again.
  • It is also a good time to take cuttings and to prune.
  • Divide and propagate Boston ferns by pinning runners to moist soil.
  • Begin forcing branches of flowering trees and shrubs this month. If frost has heaved plants, gently press them back into place.
  • Prune grape vines before buds begin to swell.
  • Starting annuals indoors: plants that require a minimum of seven to nine weeks from seeding to planning outside are fibrous-rooted begonia, seed grown geranium, impatiens, browallia, lobelia, sensitive plant, petunia (fringed, ruffled and double flowering) and verbena. Required six to eight weeks: ageratum, sweet alyssum, bells of Ireland, cosmos, lupine, annual phlox, and snapdragon.  Requiring four to five weeks: Arctotis, spider flower, calendula, marigold, petunia (bedding types), and zinnia. 
  • Check tuberous-rooted begonia for signs of growth. When they start to sprout, pot them in individual five-inch pots.
  • Check canna roots and dahlia tubers for sprouting. Divide when they sprout and start them in pots.
  • Transplant cannas to the garden about mid-May, dahlia in late May.
  • When the temperature is around 40 degrees apply dormant oil sprays. This should be done before late March and before buds swell.


  • Some vegetables can be planted this month when the soil is ready to be worked. A test for soil readiness: if a handful of soil remains in a moist ball after it is squeezed, it is too wet to work; if it crumbles like cake, it is ready.
  • Plant cool weather crops such as peas, turnips, onions sets, and spinach. Start cool weather seeds indoors such as cabbage, leaf lettuce, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower. Near the end of month start tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and squash. 
  • March is the best month for planting evergreens and ornamentals.
  • Feed spring flowering bulbs with bone meal.
  • Separate and replant large clumps of chrysanthemums.
  • Plant fruit trees and grape vines this month.
  • Complete pruning of fruit trees before buds begin to swell. 
  • Cut back bramble fruits.
  • Pick-off all brown foliage from iris and cut back to four inches to discourage borer.
  • Take cuttings of coleus and fuschia.


  • Leaf lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower can be put in the garden after hardening off. They can stand a light frost.
  • Seed potatoes should be planted about two weeks before the last frost date.
  • For showy blooms on peonies and bearded iris, fertilize with one part bone meal to five parts well-rotted manure.
  • Scratch into soil.
  • There is still time to plant fruit trees, grape vines, and bramble fruits. 
  • Near the end of the month, gladioli can be planted. Planting should be done every two weeks until early July for continual bloom.

Ready to start your garden?