First Day of Spring!

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We have just passed the first day of Spring and we may be starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel of this seemingly never ending Covid-19 pandemic. News reports about the increased instances of visits to doctors and emergency rooms related to mental issues such as anxiety and depression have affected all ages. We are all stressed and one good way to work off some of that stress and practice social distancing is to get outside. So this is the perfect time to get into your garden.

Flowers in Field with Trees in the Back

If you haven’t planned your vegetable garden, it’s not too late. Sketch your garden plan or use one of the online vegetable garden planners that you can find from mail order seed suppliers. You can still start seeds indoors, you just need a container, potting media, seeds, and a warm space. Once seedlings germinate you will need good light. Placing seedlings in a south or west facing window still is not enough light, so you will need supplemental lighting. Inexpensive shop lights can be suspended above your seedlings. No need to buy expensive grow light bulbs, just buy one warm white and one cool white bulb and you will supply the color spectrum that the plants need.

If you left perennials in the garden for wildlife over the winter, now is the time to prune those back and clean up other debris in the garden. Some perennials can be divided in spring while they are still small. Many daffodils have bloomed with others just beginning. Do not prune off the green leaves of the daffodils until they turn yellow. The plants need those leaves to photosynthesize to produce food for storage in the bulb to produce next year’s flowers. Plant annuals to cover the declining foliage of the bulbs. You can tell when you can remove the dying leaves of daffodil, by gently tugging on them – when they are ready to be removed, they will easily separate from the underground bulb with a slight pull.

You can add compost to ornamental beds. If you have mulch, rake it back, apply a layer of compost, then replace the mulch. If the mulch needs replacing, just add a layer of compost over the existing mulch, then cover with a fresh layer of mulch. Make sure not to pile mulch around stems of plants and don’t apply too thickly.

Watch for weeds in the garden and pull or hoe them while they are small. Keep your hoe sharp and it will be much easier to use. Take the time to prepare your hand tools for the season by cleaning if needed, sharpening, oiling them. Lightly sand wooden handles and oil. Tools that are maintained will bring you many years of service.

Stay safe and Happy Spring!