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Spring gardening: Where do you start?

With spring just around the corner, many gardeners are dreaming about getting out into the garden. And the biggest question of all is where to start?

I need to determine my plan of attack for my garden ahead of time because when spring comes, other people need my help in their garden and mine could easily get left behind.  

The first thing I do in my garden is to clean up all the debris that has been left behind from the winter such as fallen branches and garbage that the winter winds have left. I can do this while the ground is still frozen without damaging anything. I also remove all the burlap and Christmas lights from the trees because the worst of the winter has passed us (I hope). If you’re concerned that it might be too soon to remove the wrap from your evergreens, you can loosen it and allow for more airflow inside the burlap.

Once the snow has melted out of the gardens then I remove dead leaves and stems from last year and begin the spring cleanup. Remove any weeds that have wintered over because you don’t want them to get a headstart this spring.

After the gardens have all been cleaned up, make sure none of your plants have been heaved by the frost and everyone has their roots firmly planted in the ground. I like to add some slow-release granular fertilizer to the garden so the spring rains can help to give everything a big boast as they begin to grow.

If you’re planning on topping up your mulch or even mulching a bed for the first time and you don’t have a lot of moving to do of plants, now is an ideal time to add the mulch because the plants are all still quite small and it make for a much quicker job. Remember that if you are mulching your beds, you need to make sure the mulch is at least 7.5 centimetres thick to provide its best protection against weeds. At that depth it will hold the moisture in for a long period of time.

This year I have lots of transplanting to do and I aim to have it all done before the long weekend in May. So as soon as I can get a shovel in the ground I start the moves that I have planned out over the winter months.

I start by moving one plant either into a container or give it away and then the domino effect starts.  Move this plant into that hole and that plant into the new hole I just made until I have everything I wanted move. As I said earlier I don’t always have a lot of time in the spring to get done what I want, so I try to spend about 45 minutes a couple of nights a week in the garden and hopefully a few hours on the weekend weather permitting. Before I know it I’m ready to sit back and enjoy what spring brings before it is time to start planting my annuals and veggies.


About the Author: Denise Hodgins is a horticulturalist and landscape designer based in London, Ontario.

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