Spring Clean Preparation
Spring is probably the busiest season in the garden. Plants are waking up, mulch needs to be removed, winter clean-up has to be done, and all before you can start planting this year’s garden. Spring is the time to start planting your garden with the full summer growth of the plants in mind. Begin using a notebook or garden journal so that you can log the effects of last years’ growth, along with the goals for the coming years anticipated growth. The first task is removing and composting any dead annual plants that remained over winter. These will not return and any self-seeders will already have done their job. If you will take time to survey the garden, your job of cleaning things up in preparation for your new garden will be well worth the time invested.
What To Look For
The organization of a garden has in it the mindset of both cleaning up the old in preparation for the new. You almost have to know what you want to grow before you even begin the cleanup phase of your garden. “Out-with-the-old, in-with-the-new,” Is the classic phrase. Do you really need that bay leaf herb plant? It takes quite a bit of space in your garden, so if you do not use bay leaves in your cooking for example, remove it. Clean up the space and make allowance for what you do need. Consider what needs to be pruned back. If you didn’t prune back your perennials last fall, they’re probably looking pretty ugly as spring sets in. Many perennials actually prefer to be left standing throughout the winter, for extra protection. If you did leave your perennials standing last fall, once you start to see new growth at the base of the plants, it’s safe to begin removing winter mulch and pruning them down to ground level. Be sure to read the final growth height and spacing of the plants you intend to add and make sure there is optimal room for their full potential. Your spring garden may look sparse when first planted, but you will be glad you were conservative during the summer months as the herbs fill out.
- While there is no harm in cleaning up fallen branches and debris, wait until the soil is no longer wet enough to form a ball in your hand, before walking on it and compacting it. But don’t wait too long to start your clean up.
- If you left your ornamental grasses up for winter interest, you can cut them back as soon as you can get to them. You don’t need to wait for new growth. Cut grasses to within a few inches of the ground. They’ll come back up when they’re ready.
- Spring is the time to trim back the tattered foliage and encourage new growth to come in.
- Most evergreens should require little to no spring care other than some tidying up. Spring is a good time to fertilize evergreens, because they are actively growing at this time. However, if the soil is healthy and rich, you should only need to feed your evergreens about every other year. Look for a well-balanced food labeled especially for evergreens.
- Your garden notebook will become much more interesting now. Write down all the herbs you planted and if you used seeds or plants to start with.
- Write down if your perennial herbs from the past year have come back.
- Mark the days you plant and any changes from your original garden plan. I also write down where you get your plants from.