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Ready? Set? Go Prep For Spring Planting! Featured

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  • Author: Misty Fawber
  • Press: Miami Business Magazine
  • Date: Wednesday, 01 February 2017

1. Clean and Clear Drainage Ditches
Thanks, winter! You left behind leaves, debris, and other nasty souvenirs for us to remember you by! To help get your yard looking spring-fresh, gather in drainage areas over the cold months. Spring rains are coming, and they will need enough runoff for the robust drainage. As well, your beautiful new baby seedlings likely do best in well drained soil, so you need to get the dampness in check. Be sure to fill out your compost bin by adding the organic materials you clean out, including dead leaves, branches, and roots. Not only are early spring compost piles typically short on carbon-rich materials, but this will keep you from dumping too much trash.

2. Weed, Mulch, Rinse, Repeat
Take advantage of the dormant growing season by plucking weeds now, when the roots are shallow and unsettled. Winter rains have loosened soil, meaning weeds won't have a deep enough bed to be a problem. Once you've cleared the beds, cover bare spots with ground cover or mulch to help control new weed growth (and also to start keeping soil nice and toasty!) Shoot for 3-4 inches of mulch, or consider using black plastic garden sheeting to destroy the emerging weeds. As an added bonus? If you flip that sheet once a week or so, you'll have a harvest of slugs previously hiding in the dirt! Bug control AND weed control, all in one!

3. Give Raised Beds, Fencing and Trellises some TLC
Not only do drizzly winters cause havoc on your drainage ditches, but they can put a strain on raised beds. Rotting, mildew, warping, Soggy winter soil puts a strain on raised beds which can lead to giving away at the most inopportune times. Do some quick repairs by digging around the back of the soil and plant new stakes on the inside of the sideboards. Fluff the sideboards up, fasten, and move onto the next one. Trellises and fencing are best dealt with in early spring, since there is less growth to work around and fewer freshly planted roots to disturb. Setting new fenceposts is best done well after the spring rains have had a chance to drain through the ground.

4. Time to Dress The Top Beds!
Ready to season that soil and get it ready to push up some spring beauties? Then start from the top and the plants won't stop! Avoid digging in the bed, for risk of disturbing established roots and the complex ecosystem of soil that's been developing. Instead, add a few inches of rich compost or manure, being sure to avoid leaving any on the plant leaves or any establishing root systems. If your compost pile is soggy, add more organic matter to dry it out and amend with commercial substitute.

5. Feed the Trees
Trees, rosebushes, and most vines are ready for their second feeding of the year. Either mix your desired food into the topsoil or sprinkle on dry, freshly raked beds and know that you're giving your garden everything it needs to produce long into fall!

6. Time for Lime!
Early spring is the best time to check your soil pH and amend as needed. If your soil has a pH below 6.2, it's ready for more lime. This should be added several weeks before planting, but avoid using items like hydrate lime or "quick lime," since it can change the soil pH far too rapidly and cause permanent damage to your existing plants. After you've added lime (we prefer Dolomite, due it it's fine ground) be sure to cover the beds with plastic during heavy rains to prevent losing all of your hard work in the run off. Test again before planting.

7. Grab Some Basic Bulbs 

Take full advantage of the wet and windy days ahead, by making an investment in a beautiful summer flower garden. Grab summer-flowering bulbs, such as Ranunculus, Gladiolus, and Lilies. These beauties will sprout up in early summer and add color to your beds and beautiful perfumes to your long summer nights. 

8. Consider Hunting Season OPEN

Why wait for the pests of spring and summer to start devoruing your tomato and basil? Start attacking them NOW! Examine the crowns of your perennual plants for snails, aphids, and other nasty colonies that found shelter over the long winter months. Destroy any larvae you find, clear up any pots leftover from last summer, and know that you're doing your future self a favor. 



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