Monday, April 20, 2009

5 Tips for a Spring Garden Tune-up

"With tumbled hair of swarms of bees,
And flower-robes dancing in the breeze,
With sweet, unsteady lotus-glances,
Intoxicated, Spring advances."

from a Sanskrit poem

It's cool, damp, dark and drizzly today (what my husband likes to call a 'Winnie-the-Pooh blustery day') and a friend even mentioned we might be receiving the "S" word ( snow!!!). This rain at least should eliminate the few pockets of snow we still have remaining, so it's time to tune-up the garden for the season ahead.

1. Clean up all winter's debris. We had lots of wind storms over the winter so have to deal with lots of downed branches.

2. Cut back and clean up any vegetative matter you left standing last fall. If the matter is healthy put it in the compost, if diseased dispose of in the garbage.

3. Prune any shrubs and flowering plants like roses and grapes that suffered winter kill and also require a new hairdo (a little shaping for looks and control).

4. Check your compost bin - give it a turn to reactivate it if your fall compost isn't quite finished.

5. Get bang for your buck by planting seeds - now's the time to start planting outdoors your cool weather crops like lettuce and greens, peas and sweet peas.

Remember not to work in the garden until its dry or you risk compacting the soil structure preventing oxygen from reaching the plant's roots.

A pleasant surprise for me the other day as I worked doing garden clean-up was seeing the flash of gold in one of our ponds. The goldfish we put in the pond last summer had survived the winter and are ready to provide us with wildlife pleasures again this summer. It was a meditative day and I was happy for the return of birdsong and the lengthening days - more time to spend in the garden. The daffodils are up now and just about to burst forth in bloom - when they do, it will bring to cheer to these necessary April shower days that promise May flowers. Spring truly is here!

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