If you are anything like us folk here in Weasel-Land, you are starting to get that itch – the one that comes around about this time each year, and is nudged forward just a bit by an unseasonably warm winter.
The itch that somehow finds us out in our lawns, gardens, & beds… wishing away the cold while we ponder, plot and contemplate where we will strike first.
It’s about time for some “spring cleaning” in your lawns, gardens and flower beds. Here are a few ideas that will be relevant to most of you – likely at different times for different zones – but things we will all need to think about in the next 6-8 weeks or so.
In the Yard
Gently rake out whatever mess winter left for you. Items such as your neighbor’s windblown leaves (because you raked yours up last fall and throughout the winter, right?), fallen twigs, and general debris. This also provides you with the opportunity to find any damaged or dead spots that might need patching up in the next month or so. Look for a post on that in March!
Spring core aeration is a good idea for yards where soil has become too compacted. Allowing your yard to breathe, take in fertilizer, and wash it down with spring rains.
If your lawn is prone to serious thatch build-up, this is a good time to deal with that as well. Employing dethatching rakes, or even a power dethatcher and your deprived lawn will once again have access to the sunlight, oxygen, and moisture it needs.
And give your trees – and shrubs – a nice pruning, removing dead, broken, or crowded branches before new leaves start showing up.
In Your Flower Beds
The quest for your neighbor’s windblown leaves continues here… rake your beds for any leftover leaves, dead plant matter, and if you are beyond frost concern in your zone, last year’s mulch. Pull up last year’s annuals, too, if you did not get to it last fall.
Prune your perennials, and cut any ornamental grasses down to the appropriate length (usually 2-3”).
At this point, you will start to notice the need – if any – to make adjustments to your landscape design. If the soil has thawed, you may thin plants out now by digging them up, dividing, and transplanting.
Check the border of your beds and gardens for runaway turf. If the ground has softened up enough, use an edger – such as the Garden Weasel Edger – to put a stop to such madness. This becomes a good time to take care of any early weeds that you stumble upon now, while they are still small.
Should you have any plants that have popped out of the ground due to frost heave, gently, firmly, push them back down in the ground.
And Finally, Your Vegetable Garden…
If you’re a vegetable gardener, it’s already here for you! Spend some time studying up on what grows best in your zone, and when to plant, when to harvest, etc. This info is usually also available on seed packets, but I find it valuable to have something like THIS (just a Google search for “vegetable planting guide Kansas” found this) handy when I am planning out the vegetable garden for the year.
You can also start a number of different plants, such as peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant, among others, indoors in February and March.
If the ground is thawed enough where you are, now is also the time to till your vegetable garden, allowing Mother Nature to spend the next month or two breaking down the dirt clods and killing off exposed weeds and seeds.
On into March, additives like manure, peat moss, or compost will help build up a humus in the soil.
Obviously there are more tips and ideas and tasks and chores than anyone can capture in one blog post. This is merely a few that are top of mind at the moment for us. You may have some ideas of your own, or chores specific to your zone, or what you are growing. What Feb-March Spring preparations are you undertaking or planning now in your area, in your lawns, gardens, flower beds, to get ready for this year’s season? We’d love to hear from you!