Thursday, April 9, 2009

Spring Cleanup: Getting Your Garden Back Into Shape

It looks as though...dare I say it? Spring has almost sprung in Prince George! After a couple of MONTHS wondering if we were going to get spring at all...looked for awhile there like we would just go back into looks as though Jack Frost has given up. It is a bit dreary outside as I write this, but...I was fortunate enough to see both robins and tulips just the other day!
So anyway, thought I'd post another article on spring has some interesting tips in it. Enjoy :)

Early Spring is a great time to emerge from hibernation. We all do it; humans, animals and even our gardens. If you take some time to give your garden an early boost, you will likely be rewarded with a spectacular growing season.Early SpringTiming is different in all parts of the country. But you may find that if you get outside and do a little work in your garden before the start of the growing season, your garden beds will look fantastic. You may even enjoy the cool weather and getting your body in shape for the gardening season to come.

Spring Clean Up

If you did a great job bedding down your plants for winter, you may not have too much work to do this Spring. However, you still should put in a little effort to make sure everything is in order.If you were a little too busy last fall to do much cleaning up, you will find that you have some work to do.

Clean Out Those Garden Beds

One of the first things you will want to do for a good Spring clean up is to clean out your garden beds. If you have any annuals left in your beds that are shriveled and dead, rake them up and dispose of them. Better yet, compost them to use in the future as mulch. If you have any perennials which you haven't cut back, be sure to do that now. You don't want to have this year's plants emerging amongst brown and shriveled stalks. Cut back these dead perennials all the way to the ground. However, make sure not to cut back plants which will grow from old wood, such as Hydrangeas.


Mulching and its annual removal is a matter of personal preference. It is also a matter of cost. There are many gardeners who believe that winter mulch must be disposed of in the very early Spring, so as not to spread disease. If any of your plants had leaf spot, or any other garden pest or disease, this will surely be carried over in the mulch. In addition, if leaves from elsewhere have blown in and settled in your garden beds over the winter, you may have spores or cocoons hiding in your garden.

In theory, you should rake up the winter mulch and dispose of it or compost it (the high temperatures of composting will kill off any nasties). However, this can be back breaking, time consuming and expensive.

If, for example, you noticed that your roses performed very poorly last year and had funky looking leaves, you may want to do some extra Spring clean up in the rose beds. That is, if you are lucky enough to have rose beds! Other wise, try to get out all of the dead leaves, weed and plants and leave the mulch behind. You may even find that if you take up all the mulch too early, your plants get a little too chilly. Just make sure that you get rid of the dead and shriveled leaves and plants and you should be just fine.

Garden Bed Maintenance

Early Spring is a great time to look over your beds and perform any necessary maintenance. You will be able to walk freely around in the beds and get to any spigots or fencing that needs repairing before your beautiful plants are up and growing.

Early Spring is also a great time to inspect the foundation of your house if it is going to be shortly blocked by growing plants. Take a few minutes and examine the foundation of your house to make sure nothing looks like it is wet or in disrepair. You may not be able to do this if you have foundation beds and gardens which will soon be growing.

Clean Out Last Years Pots and Containers

Early Spring is also a great time to clean out any pots and containers that may still have last year's plants and soil in them. Mulch or dispose of any dead plants that are still in those containers and get rid of the soil. Chances are that last year's plants have leached all the nutrients out of it, so you can compost the soil as well.

Reap Your Rewards

If you put in a little bit of effort early this Spring, your planting and garden beds will be in great shape for the whole growing season. Your plants will be primed for success and their surroundings will be beautiful.

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