Spring Garden Head Start
Even though snow may still be on the ground, spring catalogs are arriving. You marvel at the new choices and order a few, as you’re anxious to get started gardening.
But there are some other steps you can take to get ready for the season. Begin by rehabbing your tools. Wash them off with soap and water, use mineral spirits on wooden handles, sharpen scissors and pruners, and replace those gloves with fingertips out.
Take a good look at your hardscape. Do you want new stone edging? Need sand to fill cracks in the brick path? How about building a new trellis for a flowering vine you have been wanting? Now is the time to get started on these projects.
In March, cut ornamental grasses to a few inches from the ground, prune back your perennials and remove any dead annuals. While you have the pruners out, check the shrubs and get rid of any dead wood. Apply a granular fertilizer around shrubs and trees.
Give your soil some love by adding compost or manure a couple of weeks before planting. Make sure you mix the amendments well with the soil so you won’t burn the roots of your new plants. Feeding your soil is the most important thing you do for plant health.
Mulch is a wonderful tool that conserves water, feeds the soil, holds down weeds and cools plant roots. Grab a handful of old mulch and see if it has broken down into fine particles. If it has, it is time to replenish. You can apply mulch any time of the year, but keep it to about 1 to 2 inches on perennials and annuals and 3 to 4 inches deep on woody plants.
With these tasks that can be completed before the growing season, your impatient hands have much to do in early spring.
Just remember the most important words: Avoid working in your garden unless the soil is dry. If a handful forms a ball, it is too wet. You don’t want to compact the soil tilling or walking on it too soon.