5 Ways to Prepare Your Garden for Spring
by Johnny Gunn

What you do now will bear fruit in a few months!

Here we are in late winter or early spring, depending on that
old ground hog, and it's time to put the garden in some kind
of order. This short list can make spring and summer that much
more productive in your garden and, of course, your pantry.
You are probably already being inundated with advertising,
telling you it's time to plant. Pay more attention to your
local weather patterns and history than those that want you to
buy something. In some areas of the country, May 15 can be
considered too early to plant. While in other areas, February
15 is just fine. Use your local wisdom to your best advantage.

Equipment - This is an excellent time to pull all of your
equipment out of storage and make sure it's in good shape for
the spring, summer, and fall work ahead. Spades and rakes
should be clean and sharp. All the handles need to be checked
for burrs, splinters, and cracks, and those with terminal
problems need to be replaced.

Now is the right time to replace anything that won't make the
year. Buckets, hoses, pots, and all other growing aids need to
be brought up to your standards.

Garden Plan - A plan? We need a plan? Absolutely we do. Use
the tallest plants you're going to have growing to shade those
that need shade, and keep those that need full sun in the sun.
Make a little drawing of your garden and indicate where the
sun is during its arc across the sky, and mark what goes
where. This will also help you with your watering schedule.

While putting the plan together, remember that you will be
harvesting in a few months, and let the plan work for you so
you don't have to fight off one vegetable in order to get to

Composting - Now is an excellent time to spread your
pile over your garden area (if it's thawed) and turn it under.
Tilling or spading the compost into the existing soil will
allow all the good stuff to meld with what was left over from
last year.

Helpers - If you use plant food, herbicides and pesticides,
now would also be a very good time to check your supply and
replace those that might be out of date or in short supply.

Patio Functions - My wife and I grill even when there's snow
on the ground, so I might be jumping the gun here, just a bit,
but now would be a good time to break out all the spring
furniture and clean it up. Break out the pots and vases that
will be planted and put the soil in. Again, make a plan so in
the long run, there is very little work to be done when the
seeds and little darlings get potted.

All of this makes for a well-stocked garden shed, a well-
planned garden, and a patio prepared for a delightful
and summer. Ribs anyone?

Take the Next Step:
- Don't miss the gardening section in the Dollar Stretcher
Library at a href="http://www.stretcher.com/menu/topic-" target="_blank">http://www.stretcher.com/menu/topic-
g.htm#gardening>. From container gardening to weed and disease
control to organic gardening, you'll find a treasure trove of
gardening information.
- Visit Gardens Alive! - $20 Off Purchases $40 Or More!
a href="http://www.stretcher.com/r/599.htm" target="_blank">http://www.stretcher.com/r/599.htm> for environmentally
responsible products that actually work.

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