Spring into action by getting your garden in shape
Published 17/02/2012 | 05:00
I normally start working in the garden early summer. When the weather gets warmer it starts with a trip to the local hardware shop for some bedding plants. Any tips for getting started earlier?
The start of spring is a great time to shake off those winter blues and get working in the garden.
Starting to plant your seedlings, preparing soil, buying compost, deterring garden pests, planting new shrubs and plants are some garden tasks. Trimming, cutting, dead heading, thinning out, adding nutrients, and planting vegetables and herbs are a few other tasks a gardener performs each year.
Gardening can become a full-time obsession which can become a year-round activity. For everything to bloom and grow on schedule, your plants must be planted, pruned, fed, and cared for throughout the year.
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Spring is the perfect time to start seedlings. Gardeners can avail of seed-starting kits available at most home improvements stores and online at www.handyhardware.ie. You can also develop homemade starter containers by cutting down toilet paper rolls or empty yoghurt pots, stuffing the bottom with newspaper, and filling the top with soil.
Whichever method you use, be sure to start the seeds midway through the spring months. If the seeds are hardy (check the package for details) you can plant them directly outdoors.
Don't forget to provide some protection from birds, or the next time you check the seedlings they may not be there.
When weather permits, cut back ornamental grasses or flowering plants that were kept taller for winter garden colour and interest. Cut ornamental grasses down to at least 12 inches from the base. Prune rose bushes, small shrubs and any climbing vines.
If you plan to add rose bushes in containers, keep an eye on the weather and sneak it in on a warm day. Summer blooming perennials can also be planted in early, but only if they are a good size. The only danger in planting too early outdoors is the frost.
Clean up your garden areas and dispose of any dead leaves.
Daffodils, snowdrops and other bulb plants bloom from late winter to early spring. If you don't see signs of them in the garden now, you soon will. Be sure to fertilise the bulbs as soon as leaves appear above the soil. Once bulb plants start to die, cut off the flowers, but wait six weeks before cutting leaves and stems.
If your lawn is looking bare in patches it won't matter how spectacular your garden is, so be sure to fertilise and reseed any bare areas.
Finally, scrub down any decking or garden paths covered with algae that may have built up over the winter. Your garden decorations left out through the winter might also need some cleaning.