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Spring gardening tips

March 31, 2016

Spring is in the air, even if it’s not in the temperature. Before long, you’ll be outdoors, enjoying the beauty and fragrance of the gardens and flowering shrubs. But if you’re anxious to get started, here are some spring gardening tips.
  1. Take inventory. Wander through your garden and make note of what you already have—perennials, shrubs, containers, garden art. Do you want to move or remove them? How would you like to change the look, color, size, or shape of your garden? Different mulch color? A new seedling? Do you want to attract more birds and butterflies? It’s a new year. Consider a new look in your garden!
  2. Clean your tools. Pull out all of your garden tools and give them a good cleaning. Get rid of any residue, debris, or rust. Sharpen the blades. Replace any garden tools that have seen better days.
  3. Check your hoses. Make sure your hoses are in good shape, with no leaks or cracks. Remove and clean the nozzles. Replace anything that is going to give you soggy grief in the months ahead.
  4. Prep your pots. Get ready to refill your pots, containers, and boxes. Scrub them well to get rid of bacteria and bugs that have managed to survive the winter. Look for cracks and chips. Add a coat of fresh paint or sponge on some accents for a new look.
  5. Clean the birdfeeders and baths. Start the season with a clean plate for your feathered friends. Bacteria, moldy seeds, and bird droppings can be harmful. Take the birdfeeders apart, empty the contents, and scrub the parts with hot soapy water. Fill a bucket with water and add four cups of white vinegar. Soak the feeder for one hour. Then rinse and dry completely before adding fresh seed. Any dampness can lead to mold and mildew. Rake up seeds, food, or droppings beneath the feeders and birdbaths. Prevent disease by cleaning birdfeeders and baths at least once a month; nectar-filled hummingbird feeders should be cleaned weekly.
  6. Clean the beds. Rake out all debris that has collected in the garden beds since last fall. Pull the weeds. Pinch off the dead growth.
  7. Amend the soil. Energize your soil to welcome the spring plantings. Till it to about six inches deep. Remove rocks and unwanted roots. Add a few inches of compost or manure, and churn it in with the existing soil. Rake the soil smooth, and top with a layer of fertilizer. Coffee grounds and egg shells add valuable nutrients to the soil, too. You can add fresh mulch now, or wait until you’ve finished planting. Just be sure to keep the mulch a few inches away from the plant stems. Mulch is great at keeping the soil moist, but too much of a good thing can lead to rotting.

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