It’s the end of January, and while there’s still a chill in the air, it’s also the time to begin working in the yard and garden so you can welcome spring in all its splendor. Here are some essential ‘welcome to spring’ tasks that you can tackle right now and enjoy your garden for months to come.
Clean Ditches and Drains
Clear out fall leaves, seedlings and other debris from ditches and drains around the garden to ensure good drainage from the soil. The cleared garden refuse can be put in a compost bin for ready fertilizer to use during spring and summer. If you don’t have a compost bin, this is also a good time to build one.
Start a Compost Pile
A good carbon-nitrogen balanced compost can be created by using common garden and kitchen waste. Carbon-rich matter are branches, dried leaves, wood chips, bark dust or sawdust pellets, shredded brown paper bags, corn husk, coffee grounds, conifer needles, egg shells and wood ash. Nitrogen can be found in fruit and vegetable scraps, tea leaves and grass clippings. A good balanced compost has more carbon than nitrogen, about one-third green and two-thirds brown material. In three months, the compost will be ready to use.
Refresh the Lawn
If there are bare patches in the lawn, re-seed them. Mix grass seed into soil in a wheelbarrow and spread over the bare areas. The rains will ensure that the seeds germinate and new grass grows well in spring. A good grass fertilizer may also be sprinkled now.
Trim and Fertilize
Trim trees and flowering bushes, and remove dead foliage to make way for new spring growth. Weed pulling is also best done now when roots are shallow. Late winter is also the best time to fertilize fruit trees and flowering bushes and shrubs.
Add mulch to a depth of about three to four inches around the base of young fruit trees to protect new growth from the late winter frost. Keep the mulch a few inches away from the crowns and stems of plants.
Clean Bird Baths and Feeders
Water accumulated in bird baths can be a health hazard for both birds and humans, so it is important to scrub them clean at least every two to three weeks. Scrub with baking soda, or a 1:10 chlorine bleach and water solution for more stubborn dirt. Pressure wash if needed. Keep baths filled with fresh water every week to attract birds throughout spring and summer.
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