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by K. Marc Teffeau, Ph.D.

April is the Cruelest Month crops in the vegetable garden. I know, the big box stores have them out for sale, but it is still too early to plant them in the ground. Although the air temperatures are warm, the soil is still cool, especially if it remains wet. Put off planting those transplants until early May. Even then you need to be prepared to protect them from a late frost. Cool season crops like broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage transplants can be planted in mid- to late April. You might want to protect them from hard frosts with plastic milk jugs as “hot caps.” Remove the bottom inch of a plastic jug so that the sides are straight. Then cut around the jug below the

T. S. Elliot once wrote in his poem The Waste Land ~ “April is the cruelest month....” He was not referring to gardening, however, but to a person’s depression compared with the arrival of life in the spring. For us gardeners, April can cause us some consternation of our own ~ nice warm weather one day and nasty wet weather the next. We are anxious to get out into the landscape and start planting, but sometimes the weather just doesn’t cooperate. Be of good cheer, fellow gardeners ~ Spring has arrived! There is a lot to do, but don’t rush the season. Resist the urge to plant those tomato, eggplant and pepper plants and other warm-season