While winter isn’t quite through with us yet, warmer temperatures are coming, and this is the perfect time to devote a little attention to our gardens and lawn, so when spring does hit,
When temperatures start to rise, weeds pop up like, well, weeds. Get at them right away with pre-emergent weed control to get rid of them before they’ve had their time to germinate, or use a post-emergent if they’re already active and growing. Remember to be responsible with the earth around you: if you’re going to use chemicals, use only those that target your particular problem area, and always remember to follow the product directions carefully.
Check your soil
You don’t want to start working in your gardens or beds unless your soil is dry, and the easiest way to test this is simply by picking up a clump of it in your hand: squeeze it tight into the form of a ball, then drop it from a height. If it breaks apart on landing, then it’s dry enough to work with, but if it stays relatively intact, then you know your soil is still too wet to toil. If dry, remove any old winter mulch and replace it as needed, and don’t forget to mulch your shrubs and trees as well, so you’re helping to conserve as much moisture as you can once the hot weather comes around.
That said, if the condition of the old mulch has not decomposed appreciably by the time spring comes, then it will still be usable. Scoop up some of the mulch in your hands and take a look at it: has it broken down into fine particles (so that it’s no longer distinguishable from dirt)? If so, then it has lost its functionality, and it won’t work effectively. But, if it has mostly retained the look and feel that it initially had when you first laid it down, then you can certainly re-use it. It still has life!
When is it safe to plant annuals?
Annuals can be quite delicate, and they don’t like frost, so all of this depends on your local frost dates, and that will determine when it is safe to plant your annuals and vegetables. For annuals, you will be transplanting from pots, flats, or six-packs at the garden centre, so it’s safe to plant when the last frost date has passed. For us, that’s typically after the May long weekend.
First, we must rake. That’s the first step in lawn care as it helps control thatch build-up: a thatch build-up of more than 1/2 inch is considered too much. Don’t just skim the surface, you need to rake deep into the thatch and will also remove dead grass leaves from the winter. Next comes fertilizer, and lawns can be fertilized organically by using compost and mulching mowers, or for those who prefer chemical fertilizers, there is a more robust schedule to follow (that you can typically find on the product directions).
Order summer-flowering bulbs and seeds
Now is a great time to order your summer-flowering bulbs and seeds like lilies, gladioli, and ranunculi: all can be ordered now for early spring planting.
Set up your compost
If you haven’t done so already, set up a compost area in your garden. Whether you decide to build your own with some spare wood around your house or you opt to buy a ready-made compost bin, this area is essential for you to store your organic waste. Once it has broken down, you will get this rich compost that your plant will thrive on. Remember to have a decent mixture of vegetable peels, wood prunings, paper, and grass clippings, and don’t forget to help the process along by turning your compost with a garden fork every month to keep it aerated.
Clean your tools
Not only will maintaining your garden tools help save you money in the long term, but it will also help prevent the spread of disease (dirty secateurs love bringing bacteria and fungi to fresh pruning). Use detergent, hot water, and a brush to give your bladed tools a good clean, and then have them sharpened at your local garden store so you can get cleaner pruning cuts.