If you are tired of being cooped up in the house – this blog is for you!
We’ve compiled a list of garden chores that can help save your sanity now and make the coming months much more pleasant.
PRO tip! Stay out of your garden beds if they’re still wet and muddy; walking on wet ground can compact your soil.
Remove the weeds!
The recent rains have been a godsend for our reservoirs — and our weed seeds. If your yard is like mine, the muddy ground is thick with sprouting weeds that will only get thicker as the sun starts to shine. Any weeding you do now will save you tons of misery later this year when it’s hot and the weeds are threatening to take over your yard. These handy tools will save your back and tons of weeding time while leaving the roots of the weeds behind to slowly decompose and nourish the soil. And if the weeds haven’t gone to seed, throw them in your compost pile.
Collect dried leaves, twigs, grass clippings, stable bedding or straw, kitchen scraps, coffee grounds, eggshells, shredded newspapers, even old potting soil, and get composting. Check out your municipal websites to see if they have guides or offer deals on low-cost composting bins (most do). Aim for a balance of carbon items, such as dried leaves and shredded newspapers, with nitrogen “green” items such as kitchen scraps and lawn clippings. Moisten the layers as you add them (the pile should be damp, like a wrung-out sponge, not dripping), and keep it turned. The more often you turn the pile, the faster it will transform into a rich, crumbly, sweet-smelling amendment
Does your wheelbarrow have a flat tire? Is your hand trowel bent or blunt from hacking at roots or rocks? Are there holes in the fingers of your garden gloves? Now is a great time to check out your garden gear and get it ready for a busy spring. If you check all of this now, you will have what you need as the season progresses.
Ask your neighbors if they’re interested in a plant swap. If they’ve been to the nursery, they may have more vegetable plants than they need (Do you really need six eggplants?), and perhaps they’d like to swap you for some onion starts or that lion’s tail, marjoram or cilantro that came up on its own.
Feed your garden bed with bags of organic potting soil, compost, aged steer manure or other organic amendments. Water it well, then let it sit for a week or two while the organisms break down the ingredients and “cook.” Give this mix a week or two to cool down, since planting right away could “burn” or kill tender seedlings.
Find a sunny spot as close as possible to your kitchen door and plant an herb garden, either in a large pot or tub (with plenty of drainage) or in a garden bed. Keep drought-loving herbs like rosemary, sage and lavender separate from more water-hungry herbs like basil, and water with a lighter hand. Add a variety of mint to your herb collection (if only for the mojitos), but consider planting it in pots, since many mint plants are invasive and will take over your bed. Do keep the herbs handy, though, so you can easily run your hands through their fragrant leaves as you walk outside and get an instant pick-me-up.