Get a Jump on Your Spring Garden

I know you, you’re just itching to get out in the garden and DO STUFF. Here are some ideas, more or less in sequence.

Clean up. I know, it’s not one bit of fun. But it’s necessary. And it does give you a real sense of accomplishment. Pull out and discard any dead foliage from last year’s garden. If you’re certain it’s disease free, add it to your compost pile. Otherwise, bundle it for the garbage. Decaying plant material is a vigorous breeding ground for slugs and snails and all kinds of pathogens you really do not want in your garden. Once that stuff is cleared away, take some time to analyze and make notes. That new perennial didn’t do as well as you hoped last year; maybe it needs another home? The daylilies are starting to break through the soil; are they too crowded?  Be honest: Turns out, you really don’t like hellebores; in a few weeks dig them up and plan to give them to someone who does. And so on. Then make a cup of herbal tea, relax in your favorite chair, and pat yourself on the back.

Add compost. If you already have a compost bin or pile, you’ve probably been adding it to the vegetable garden area all along. But if not, now is a good time to pick up a bag or two of commercial compost and work it into your beds. Let it do its magic for a couple of weeks.

Plant peas. Peas need to be direct-seeded, and they need to be planted early. Like now. When, exactly? The directions usually say “as soon as the ground can be worked.” That means, whenever you can easily dig in it. In other words, it’s not frozen or waterlogged. Where I live, in the Pacific Northwest, that’s about right now. It may be cold where you live, but as long as you can actually dig in the dirt, it’s not too soon.

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