Spring Cleaning by Peggy Sue


Spring in the garden has fully set in, with summer closing in fast. Weeds are large and abundant in unplucked gardens, and plentiful even in manicured ones.

Spring is when the plants come out and you can finally decide the dead from the hiding. As Martha stewart says, “There are few rites of spring more satisfying than the annual clean.” I agree. The removal of dead and mulching leaves and branches is your first priority, with weeds being plucked soon after. Tilling or turning your soil and adding needed manure, or soils is always good to accomplish now while the plants are small. Next comes transplanting or thinning the new growth that came back from last year, and finally seeding and planting of new growth.

Now is a good time to be considering watering options for the summer, for myself I am in the process of switching entirely to water barrels and rain storage. Options you might want to consider are the various types of sprinklers and how they deliver water, some don’t deliver enough water consistantly for reliable use, and some over water or pound smaller plants, breaking and rotting out potential gardens. Drip feeding is always a good option, delivering only necessary water to the plants and saving on your bill, but can be a pain as it comes apart often.

Soil to be added is also a consideration at this time of year, manures or compost should be added, sand and peat fluffed in and about and other agents added to soil to provide a nurturing environment for the babies that you will be putting out. For people like myself who grow english style (lush, packed, gardens) this is no easy chore as you have to avoid breaking so much. For the more executive style garden, you can easily dump, and turn the new soil in. For a vegtable garden, a ph of around 6 ish is preferable, but for flowers and bushes it will vary greatly according to the plant.

With your starters or seeds purchased you are now free to plant at will. I like to place a test plant in odd places to test the ability to grow under various conditions in my yard, as package or book directions are not always reliable. Now that your soil has been freed of dead matter, turned, fluffed, added to, or subtracted from, the babies you plant in are free to grow unhampered by competition or poor environmental effect.

After transplanting your garden and watering it in you can stand back and await the fruits of your labour, plucking out the stray weeds as they come and trying to remember not to water too much, or too little. Spring is one of the best times of the year to play with your garden, giving it a facelift by re-arranging plants, separating plants, or just getting new ones.

– Peggy