Spring Garden Prep Checklist

Hande Salcan

I never like to use the word “chores” (ick!) when it comes to gardening, but let’s face it…there are a few things we need to do each season to keep our garden healthy and productive. Frankly, the fall prep can be a little tough for me…after all, it can be hard to see how it will affect your garden months down the road. (Even when you know better ’cause you read all my good advice. :) But spring prep, now that’s a diff story. You get to see the results of your efforts quickly, and besides, the first stirrings of spring is enough to prod you along to get these (not chores) done. And I don’t know about you, but after this winter, I’d do anything to get outside, even prep! (Again, not chores.) So here is your spring garden prep checklist that you can start working on as the snow melts (and it will!) and the temperatures warm!

1. Pull out the toolbox, cause it’s time to repair! Before you are kept busy pulling weeds, planting and designing, and harvesting veggies, make sure anything that has been put aside for repairs gets fixed. Stepping stones heaved from the ground? Time to lay them back in flush with the ground. Solar path lights not working? Repair or replace!

2. Time to cut it all back. Perennials and some shrubs need to have all the old dead growth cut back in early spring, to allow them to regrow with plenty of light and air circulation. (Also, it’s prettier!) If you haven’t cut back your ornamental grasses and rose bushes, the sooner the better.

3. Clean it up! Scrub out containers to get them ready for new designs this spring and summer, any tools that missed your fall prep need to be cleaned and possibly oiled, birdhouses, ponds and fountains all need a good cleaning out and checking over. If your spring bulbs are covered with a mash of fall leaves, clean them up so they won’t rot underneath.

4. Plant bare root roses and trees and shrubs. This is a great time to get good deals on bare root plants… get them in the ground before the weather warms too much. Tip: Make sure you already know where the plant is going to go when you bring it home… Bare root plants are great until they break dormancy, then you better hope they are in the ground already! It’s really easy to set a new rose bush or two aside until you decide where to put them, only to find them dried out and stunted because they broke dormancy without the benefit of soil and water.

5. If you have some perennials that were crowded last season, or you just want to create more plants, now is the time to divide those perennials.

6. Check for watering needs. If you have had a dry winter, make sure you give all your plants a good long drink to help them wake up to spring. In mid-late spring you can begin your fertilizing schedule.

7. Now the fun part…plant something! Early spring veggies, pansies and primroses, and new perennials are prime for planting in spring. Make sure after all the (not chores) you reward yourself by doing the one thing you’ve been waiting to do all winter…get your hands in the soil, and nurture a living plant (or five)!

Was that so hard? And besides, it got you out in the garden! I know, I say that a lot. :)
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