It’s time to put some “spring” back into your garden beds! With winter over and temperatures on the rise, the battle begins against weeds, insects and disease. So, get out there early and protect your yard against pesky problems. Check out my tips on how to prepare your garden for spring planting.
5 Tips to Prepare Your Garden for Spring Planting
Remove dead foliage to help new plants grow big and strong. Remove last season’s annuals, vegetables and herbs, as well as any dead perennial materials. Remove leaves, especially diseased ones, or break the non-diseased leaves and leave them in the garden as mulch. Get rid any weeds in flower beds, lawns and walkways. Prune late-season flowering shrubs and vines that bloom on new growth.
Remember, gardens are only as good as the soil they’re planted in. Keep garden beds fertile by enriching the earth with organic compost, manure or a premium-quality mixed blend of soil. Beef up the beds’ edges to prevent your lawn from creeping in and plants from creeping out. Next, spread a layer of fertilizer to boost the health of your lawn, and minimize weed growth by applying corn gluten (it prevents weed seeds from germinating). Apply this at the same time that the Forsythia is in bloom. Wait at least four weeks before over seeding. Beginning of April is also the time to turn on outdoor water taps, tune up your irrigation system and check for leaks and broken or misaligned spray heads and sharpen lawn mower blades and pruning shears.
It’s easy to blow your budget when garden centres are full of gorgeous displays that just beg you to open your wallet! To stay on track, make a list before you head out. Think about colour themes, areas you want to improve and existing plants that just aren’t working. And don’t forget to note each garden’s growing restrictions (available light, soil type, hardiness zone, maintenance requirements). Knowing these details will help you pick the right plant for the right place and ultimately create landscapes that take care of themselves. Also, Look for plants with good root systems — that means they’re healthy.
Before you start planting, look up the last frost date in your area. This date determines when it’s safe to plant frost-tender plants like tomatoes, peppers, hibiscus and impatiens. But it doesn’t limit the planting of frost-hardy perennials, trees, flowering shrubs, vegetables and annuals like pansies and snapdragons that thrive in cool early-spring temps. Pick plants that will thrive in each garden’s growing conditions
Finally, don’t forget to warm up those muscles before you prepare your garden for spring planting. Physiotherapists and chiropractors tend to see an upswing in patients in the spring. Plus, don’t forget the sunscreen!
Frank Ferragine AKA “Frankie Flowers” is an award winning gardening expert and “weather specialist” on City’s morning show Breakfast Television in Toronto.
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