Spring is in the Air, Time to Hit the Outdoors!


It’s finally almost that wonderful time of year, Spring! While we may not hold it in as high a regard as summertime, it comes in a close second. And we all know there’s no better way to start of the season than with a little gardening outside. These tips will help to get your garden into fighting shape for this season!
First up on our list of tasks…
…Odd Jobs Around the Yard
weeding in the vegetable garden, closeup
To start with, you’re going to want to clean and clear out the drainage canals through your garden so you won’t have to deal with any standing water.  Leaves and debris gather in drainage areas over the winter. Now is the time to ensure that the spring rains will have adequate runoff. Spring seedlings do best in soil which drains well. Because vegetative growth is at a low point in early spring, this is the easiest time of year for clearing drainage ditches.
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Next up is clearing out the garden of any young weeds.  Any weeds which appear in your garden beds will be easiest to pull now, as the roots are shallow. Covering bare spots with mulch or ground cover will minimize the emergence of new weeds. Adding mulch to a depth of 3 to 4 inches is usually sufficient. Black plastic sheeting can also be used to cover the beds before planting as a way to suppress emerging weeds. And if you flip the sheeting over once a week you may likely find slugs which have been hiding in the bed. This is a simple way to reduce the slug population in garden beds.
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Another way to get ready for the season is to start a compost pile, or use a compost box, if you don’t have one already. We would suggest you use the materials that you cleared earlier from your garden to start one (if you don’t have a preexisting one, its a great idea to have on!) and it will serve you well for a long time to come. Chop these up first to speed decomposition.  Turn regularly. Continue adding to the pile throughout the season for rich, homemade compost next spring.
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Fertilizing your garden in spring makes a huge difference, and most plants really don’t need the constant feeding that many advertisers suggest.  But as with children in a growth spurt, supplemental nutrition as plants break dormancy, can make a noticeable difference.  The fuel required to generate new stems and leaves is stored in dormant roots, the result of the prior fall’s photosynthetic activity.  As temperatures rise in spring, plants surge into new growth.  A gentle, organic supplement at this time can create head-turning results later in the season.  This is especially true if last fall the gardens were stressed by lack of water, abundant weeds that robbed ornamentals of nutrients, or an untimely shearing.  When applying granular fertilizers in spring, be sure none settles on leaves or they may burn.  The fastest and easiest way to put down fertilizer is when it’s about to rain.
 

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