March 26, 2011

Tip of the day—Get ready for garden season

Below are a few things that you can do now to help you get ready for gardening season:

  • Clean and sharpen any tools that need attention.  Gardening spades and pruning shears need a little attention every so often.  Get them ready now so that you don’t have to take the time to do so when the weather warms up and you are busier outside.
  • Now is a good time to get the lawn mower ready.  Make sure it is in good working order so that when you start mowing every week, you won’t have the added frustration of working on it.
  • Pull leaves out of garden beds so that flowers can have plenty of room to grow.  Add them to your compost pile instead of putting them in the trash.
  • Trim back any perennials that have spent stems or flower heads.  Often I’ll leave the stalks of plants like sedum and anise hyssop so that there is a little more structure and interest in the winter gardens.  This time of the year, I take some pruning shears and cut those old stalks back so that when the new ones sprout they are the focus.
  • Work on weeding early.  When it is 110 outside, I don’t care a thing about weeding.  Making sure that you catch weeds early and before they go to seed will help to make sure that the garden isn’t a jungle in the summer months.  Add some mulch around plants as needed as another way to reduce weeds.
  • Now is a good time to feed plants like blueberries a bit of sulfur.  Make sure that your fertilizers are organic!
  • Realize you don’t have to do everything at once.  Instead of planting the entire garden in one day, spread it out.  Succession plantings of crops like cucumbers mean that you’ll be able to harvest for a longer time frame, and it spreads the work out so that you aren’t exhausted. 
  • Hook up the rain barrel if you haven’t already.  Start collecting water now so that when the weather warms you won’t have to use the hose.

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