A big spring clean-up is something of a yearly tradition for most families around the world. After the long dark winter months begin to retreat, new spring light and fresh air make neglected, cluttered, and stale areas of the home more noticeable, and the urge to clear out the old descends. While the majority of people take it upon themselves to tidy up their homes and sheds, the gardens and lawns are usually among the last to be tackled. Just a little effort during the early spring can pave the way for a lush and beautiful garden that lasts through the fall. To make your garden spring clean up as effective as possible, follow the three steps below.
Unclutter the Gardens
One of the easiest ways to prepare the garden for future greatness is to clear all of the dead plants and debris that’s settled in over fall and winter. Most gardens gather an average of two or more containers full of debris. Once everything is cleared away, more air can get into the soil and the clean water needed for fresh growth can be properly absorbed. But the best part is everything you collect can be used to start a nutrient-rich compost to fuel the new garden.
Assess Damaged Areas
During your spring clean up, do a quick survey of the main areas of the garden and lawn to scout for any areas of rot, mold, or general foliage damage. Most of the time, these will appear as straw-coloured grass, pink to light brown mold formations, and brown or black leaves and stems. Most of these problems arise after excess salt exposure over winter and suffocation from long periods under ice and snow.
Wherever this kind of damage occurs, it’s best to just remove and prepare the area for replanting. Don’t put it in your compost though! If the problem seems quite difficult to handle, contact a professional landscaper to help you assess the problem and offer alternative solutions.
Prepare the Soil
Before you make that big trip to the garden center to fill up on early bird plant specials, it’s important to prepare the soil. This is a two part process. First, you’ll want to raise the ground temperature and moisture levels so your plants grow fast and strong. To do this, put a plastic sheet over the garden for a couple of weeks so the soil can rejuvenate, but not snug enough so that it suffocates any perennials or foliage underneath it.
Second, check the soil pH levels. You can find inexpensive soil kits at every well-equipped garden center, and their staff will be able to tell you exactly how to use it. The soil should be treated until pH levels are suitable for the type of plants that will be in the garden, so if you aren’t sure what those are, ask for advice when you’re buying the kit or consult a local landscaper. If the soil is too low in nutrients or too high in acidic properties, you risk weak plants and a garden prone to pests and disease.
So this year, drag your family or friends out to the backyard for a fun calorie-burning spring clean up followed by the first picnic or bbq of the year. Throw some dirt around and start a compost corner. Not only will you have a beautiful garden that lasts all summer, but a new spring clean up event to look forward to every year.