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Garden Goals And Resolutions; The Spring Checklist

By Amanda Whatley Owen

web posted January 8, 2018
GARDENING A fresh new year is upon us.  This is the time of year where goals, and resolutions are always made, but are they made in your garden?  I personally find it super easy to maintain a small checklist, or calendar, for my garden each season.

This is especially important if you have a larger garden with more going on.  January is a great month to create your garden checklist, giving you plenty of time to be sure every plant and every tool is Spring-ready.
January and February, which are normally two of our coldest months, is a perfect time to clean garden tools.  Wipe down shears, trowels, shovels, mower blades, and anything used in the garden or landscape. I always suggest using peroxide, alcohol, or bleach when cleaning tools.  This helps eliminate risk of bacteria and fungus starting in your garden.
This is also a good time to sort through any old chemicals that have been sitting on the shelves of your shed.  Typically, I suggest discarding the chemical after two years. Bags of soil also need to be checked to make sure they were not exposed to excessive amounts of moisture, or just the opposite, dry and lumpy.
Typically, toward the end of the winter, starting in March, I start the cleanup in the garden itself.  This is an excellent time to be sure any dead plants are removed, and clean up any remaining plants, removing dead branches from shrubs, trees, etc.  Make sure all perennials are cut back and ready to grow.  This is also a great time to cut back any ornamental grasses.
Evergreens require hardly any spring care other than assuring the bases are tidy and clear of brush.  You can apply a general purpose fertilizer, such as 10-10-10 to the drip line of your evergreen, and it should be good to go.
Spring soil test are also usually done around this time because this is when you should begin to add components to the soil, that will make it appetizing to your flowers or shrubs.

Just before April, is the perfect time to divide any daylilies, monkey grass (or any of your bulbs or perennials for that matter) to replant in other sections of your garden, or to spread over a larger area. Also, be sure any stakes and trellises are in place and ready to support those plants that may need staking as they grow.  Lastly, about the end of March, after ensuring that I've done a thorough cleanup, I normally add fresh mulch, or straw.  Then, I add fresh flowers for the spring and summer.  I aim to have my Spring checklist completed, and Spring flowers planted by Master's Week (first full week in April).
So many folks, for a host of reasons, fail to get their Spring cleanup and checklist completed.  This can, potentially, create a lot of future problems in your garden.  Taking the time to complete these tasks will help for smooth Spring and Summer planting, and make your garden experience more rewarding and enjoyable.  We have about three months to be Masters-ready, so let's plan our work, and then, work our plan!

Next week in Mandy's Friendly Garden, you'll learn how to take some of those old items around the inside and outside of your home, and turn them into DIY Garden projects to benefit your garden in more ways than you thought possible!

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