Your Spring Garden Clean-Up Checklist

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Your Spring Garden Clean-Up Checklist

Start Spring Cleanup Late Enough to Not Disturb Sleeping Beneficial Insects

You have started your tomato seeds indoors, and they look great. Seeing them grow makes you anxious to get outdoors in the garden, but you can’t rush Mother Nature. You can do more damage than good if you start too soon with your spring cleanup. Check your growing zone for the estimated last frost date and start your cleanup accordingly.

Start Your Clean-up in the Early Spring

Even if the ground is still frozen, there are a few things that you can do during the early spring season. The first is a general yard and garden cleanup. Walk around your property and pick up any trash or debris that may have blown into your yard.

While you are picking up the trash, also pick up things like pinecones or any branches or tree limbs that may have fallen during a winter storm. Do a visual check of your raised beds, window boxes and planters. Do any of them need repair or do you want to add more?

This is the perfect time to complete those projects. Also check your garden tools, as now is the time to sharpen your blades on shovels and cutting tools. Start up the mower and other equipment you will be using to make sure they are all in working condition.

If you have battery powered tools, check the batteries and charge them for the work ahead. Now is a good time to purchase additional batteries if you need to.

What to Do at Spring Thaw

The ground in the garden may be too wet to walk on when you hit spring thaw, but there are some things you can start doing. Edging your garden beds can be done now. Start to remove the winter protection from roses and other shrubs. If you covered some of your perennials with mulch, gradually start to remove the mulch when you see new green growth.

Be prepared to re-cover your perennials if there is a surprise cold snap. Be careful when you enter the garden beds if you have spring bulbs planted, as you don’t want to crush the tips of your tulips by stepping on them. Remove any annuals from last year and the dead material left over from your perennials.

This is also a good time to prune any dead or damaged branches from your shrubs and trees. If the ground is dry enough, put up any trellising you will need for your favorite morning glories, climbing roses or clematis, as well as pole beans and cucumbers.

Wrapping Up Clean-Up in the Late Spring

In the late spring, the temperature should remain above freezing and you can work the soil in the gardens. Add compost to your gardens and start to plant the vegetable seeds. Things like spinach and peas can be planted even in cold soil.

Start to harden off any seedlings you have been growing indoors. Make use of your cold frame to grow more tender vegetables. Remove the last of the winter protection mulch from your plants. Prune shrubs and trees for shape and for the overall health of the plant. Begin planting cold-tolerant annual flowers in the garden.

Don’t forget the birds! Set up the bird baths and fountains. If you live in the north, set up the hummingbird feeders and put out grape jelly for returning migratory birds like orioles and hummingbirds.

If you don’t have many early flowering plants in your yard, plan to add some for the pollinators that have trouble finding food supplies in the spring. There is even a movement called “No Mow May” to help the pollinators, especially bees, by allowing the dandelions to bloom and provide nectar in the spring.

Bring out your patio furniture and enjoy the outdoors. Spring is a perfect time to be outside, as the pest insects like mosquitoes and flies aren’t active yet. Enjoy your morning cup of coffee outside. Remember to place a chair or bench in your garden so you can sit back and relax after you finish working and enjoy the bounty of your garden.

There’s plenty to do at all times of the year in your garden, and it starts with spring cleanup. Get your garden ready in the spring to maximize its beauty and bounty throughout the growing season.

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