CityTV garden and weather expert Frankie Flowers sets out eight tasks for a great garden all season long
It’s time to get our gardens in tip-top shape for the season. So flex those sowing muscles and dig into spring like a pro—here are eight things that you should do now to get ready to grow!
1. Clean up and repair High winds, heavy snow and freezing rain are just some of the damaging elements our gardens face over winter, so spring is the time to inspect for damage, prune back or remove broken stems and branches, clean up any debris and remove any plants that just didn’t survive the deep freeze. 2. Edge and amend An instant way to improve the garden is to amend the soil, which simply means adding in more of the “good stuff.” To improve drainage, add organic matter (like leaf mould or shredded leaves), composted manures, top soil and, in some cases, horticultural sand and grit. Also add peat moss to increase acidity and improve moisture retention. Afterwards, give your flowerbeds a fresh new edging by running an edger or spade around their perimeter.
3. Prune and control The cardinal rule is to prune after they bloom, but for those late-blooming clematis and hydrangeas, various shrubs and fruit-bearing woody plants, early spring is the time to prune into performance and snip them into shape!
4. Combat crabgrass Use corn gluten to minimize the germination of weed seeds like crabgrass, an annual weed that spreads easily from seed. The key is to apply the corn gluten in early spring before weed seeds germinate, and remember: You must wait four to six weeks to reseed your turf grass after applying corn gluten.
5. Start the season indoors Sow warm-season veggies, such as tomatoes, peppers, squash and cucumbers, indoors. The No. 1 reason people fail at seed starting is that they simply start their plants too early—so be sure to follow the sowing instructions on the back of your seed pack.
6. Dig in with root veggies Cold-crop vegetables like leafy greens and most root vegetables can be directly sown into the garden once soil temperatures warm, even if there’s still a risk of frost. (In fact, many root vegetables don’t like transplanting, so planting them directly into the ground is the only option.)
7. Harden off seedlings “Hardening off” is the process of toughening up your seedlings to acclimatize them to being outside full time. Expose them to the elements incremently: first in part shade and then in the sun—and only for a few hours to begin with. Build them up to days outdoors and nights indoors, until they’re ready to be in the garden full time.
8. Top-dress and reseed the lawn With warm soil temperatures and ample rainfall, mid-spring is the time to boost your lawn into health. Through top-dressing, reseeding, aerating and fertilizing, you can help your lawn out-compete weeds.
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