Luckily, it is just about time to get out there and start some spring cleaning and preparing. In the Missouri Ozarks where I live with my husband and five cats, the last frost should be just about upon us and daylight savings time is here so we are going to have more sunlight every day. Time to celebrate spring by getting out in the yard and soaking up the sun while you get your yard prepared for the warmer months. Here are some tips on what you can do to prepare.
Organize Your Shed or Other Garden Tool Area
The first thing you need to do if you have not done it already is to check your shed or garage and see what you have for this year and what you may need to buy. For example, you may have some bulbs or tubers that you have been keeping over the winter and you may want to go through all of your tools to see what you need to buy and what you can clean to be good as new.
Clean or Buy New Gardening Tools
If you are anything like me, you probably meant to clean your gardening tools before you put them away for the winter. But then you got busy and forgot. Yep, it happens to all of us. So, get in there and find your tools and clean them up. You can use sandpaper and a wire brush to sand the rust off of metal tools and sharpen tools like axes and pruners with a sharpening file or mill file. And this time, be sure to clean them before storing them at the end of the season. It will be much easier when springtime comes around again.
Clean Up the Gardens
Get rid of old, dead plants from last year, remove any weeds that grew during the winter, and revitalize the soil. You can add manure or other compost to the soil to make it healthier after a long winter. You may want to test the soil to find out exactly which nutrients you may need to add before you add anything. The healthier the soil, the healthier your plants will be this year. You can also add some mulch to your garden and flower beds as well. Pruning the shrubs, trees, and bushes should also be done at this time.
Inspect for Bugs and Other Pests
While cleaning out your gardens and flower beds, check for bugs, beetles, and other little critters that need to be removed before planting. Those hibernating pests have just been waiting all winter for you to plant something new so they can emerge and start chowing down. Get rid of them before they attack. It can save a lot of trouble come spring and summer. Look for weevil larvae. They live in your soil and compost and just wait for the warm season so they can start eating. The garden store can tell you what to use to get rid of these critters and everything else.
Sow Some Seeds
You probably already started some seedlings indoors and you can start to transplant them outdoors once the last frost has passed. You can also plant seeds such as Peppers, Begonias, and Geraniums right now because they take a bit longer to grow. You should also plant the perennials you want to have in your gardens such as Calendula, Hyacinth, Gladiolas, Iris, Tulips, and Daffodils. Sow seeds of cool-season flowers such as Lilacs, Redbuds, Snapdragons, Pansies, and vegetables like Spinach, Arugula, Peas, Parsley, and Lettuce. You can also now transplant your tomato plants from indoors to outdoors
Clean Out the Bird Feeders, Bird Houses, and Birdbaths
You should clean and disinfect your bird houses every year. Scrub them with a solution of bleach and water. Most experts suggest one-quarter cup of bleach mixed with two gallons of water. You can also use this solution on the birdbaths and feeders now and during the spring and summer as needed. Make sure you rinse them and let them dry before you fill them back up again.
Make a Compost Space
If you do not already have a compost area, it is high time you started one. You use compost in your garden, right? So why buy it when you can make your own for literally nothing. You can make one out of old scrap wood, pallets, or even a barrel or trash can. Then you will have a place to dump your old garden waste during the year like dead plants, grass clippings, and weeds. No need to throw that stuff away. It is like gold to your garden when it turns into compost. All you need is old vegetable peelings (like potato or carrot peels), small limbs from pruning bushes, paper, and grass clippings.
Add Your Own Personal Touch
After all, it is your yard so it should reflect what you enjoy. For example, if you like to watch the birds, put out more feeders, birdbaths, and birdhouses. If you like to sit out by the fire at night, you can make your own fire pit to enjoy. If you just want to jazz up your yard, add some yard art or decorations, revamp your old outdoor furniture, or you can even make your own tables out of various materials. It is pretty easy. And if you are really wanting a change, try building your own backyard pond. It is easier than you think.