Welcome back to the start of another garden season. We’ve had a little break, we’ve painted, power washed and built a few more bits and pieces around here and if you are like me you’re chomping at the bit…nah, I’m lying…I have a few more books I want to read. So if you are not like me and are impatient to get cracking on your garden I have an awesome list for you. One part planning, one part actual work and one part shopping. It’s an awesome to-do garden sandwich if you ask me!
The Planning Part
If you have a spot for a garden corkboard that you can pin up lists, drawings, it will make your planning process easier. I know a corkboard is old school but there is something about walking by it every day that reminds me and helps me to focus on what I need to get done.
If you haven’t done so already take stock of your garden. Take photos and note any bare areas that you would like to do over. Pay special attention to any drainage issues and as soon as it’s dry, you can start to address them.
Make a wish list both for plants and for hardware…like 2 new digging shovels for me and hard features…like a bench or a birdbath.
Make a list of plants to divide up, prune, or bring in for forcing.
Now is a great time to peruse the garden magazines and catalogues.
Make a note of any shrubs or perennials you would like to move and flag them…I have to do this part because otherwise I’ll forget…there is nothing like a piece of orange flagging tape waving at you to remind you.
Make a job list.
The Shopping Part
If you love starting from seed now is a great time to peruse both some of the new and wonderful and the old faithful varieties. I’ve set up a bunch in the store and I’ve got my eye on some Renee’s seeds. This year we've also launched our online seed store
A great learning website and seedy event website is www.seeds.ca It will not only tell you about all of the seedy events but there is great information on pollinators too!
Now is a great time to check out some new garden tools. Peruse your job list and make sure you have the tools you need to get the job done right, quickly and with a minimum of wear and tear on you!
The Actual Work Part
Now is a good time to prune. And by prune I mean removal of dead, damaged, diseased or crossing and rubbing branches to enhance the Natural shape of the tree. I do not mean drag out the rusty old hack saw and chop away at will. If you have pruned correctly you will not be able to see where you have pruned but rather notice the natural shape of the tree.
There are plenty of workshops out there (our early 2015 Spring workshop schedule will be posted in the next couple of days) as well as reading on proper pruning techniques. There is no excuse for ugly pruning jobs…so don’t make me come out there!!!
If you have questions our horticulturalists and arborists would be happy to provide advice.
Dormant spraying. If you have a problem with pests or fungus you can spray with a lime sulphur dormant spray kit. Or if you have a pest problem such as scale, mites you can just apply the horticultural oil. The dormant oil will act as a smother coat on dormant insects. It is not selective and will also smother some overwintering pollinators if they are in the spray zone. Be mindful of when and where you spray and if it is really necessary. I know I am starting to sound like an old broken record but our native pollinators need all the help they can get!
Now is a great time to begin dividing up hardy perennials as long as the ground is not frozen or really waterlogged. And if the ground isn’t frozen or waterlogged it’s also starting to be a good time to move hardy plants around.
Seed starting – you can get cracking indoors with some tomatoes, eggplant and peppers to name a few. Outdoors you may be able to start a few cool season crops like Kale. Otherwise wait another a week or two until most frosts have passed.
Organize & Clean
Organize and clean your garden workplace. Whether it’s a garden shed or part of the garage a clean and organized work area will make your gardening life better, simple as that. Clean, organize and shuffle the really big shed spiders away from your most frequently used tools...shudder. Also set up a sand bucket (a 5 gal bucket will do fine) to clean off digging shovels and other tools. It’s also good idea to set up a little dry off and clean up area for boots, soggy garden jackets and some small wooden dowlings to put muddy garden gloves to dry.
Get Ready to Fertilize & Lime
Check and organize fertilizers, lime, seeds etc. and make sure you are ready to go when the weather breaks!
That ought to do you for now. Don’t worry, I’ll think up more work for you next month!
Cheers - Laurelle