Cary, NC — It’s too early for putting summer plants in the ground, but you can get your yard ready with a little Spring Garden Clean Up.
Spring Garden Clean Up
Spring Garden Clean Up just takes a few hours. Nothing too strenuous, but a great opportunity to get out in the sunshine, get some exercise and smell the earthy fragrance of Spring.
- Pick up debris
- Prep garden beds
A good Spring Garden Clean Up keeps down the pests, improves the look of your property and keeps your valuable plants healthy.
1. Pick Up Debris
Get all the sticks, debris, pinecones and sweet gum balls up off the lawn before they seed or get embedded in your soil. Small branches should be picked up too. Large logs that have fallen, or trees that look dead should be broken down into 3 foot sections and left at the curb for the Town of Cary yard waste trucks to haul away.
Many bushes and shrubs have already started to take bud, don’t trim these unless you really want to harsh them back and inhibit growth for the coming season. Most pruning has passed for now, until after plants have flowered.
You CAN trim off old dead stalks on mums, cone flowers, crepe myrtles, and autumn joy and other perennials that are now setting up new growth below the mulch line. Cut back ornamental grasses, it makes the plant healthier and really looks better too! That goes for ground cover Liriope as well. Plants used these old stalks and leaves for energy over the winter to fuel the new spring growth. As new shoots emerge, the plants look a lot nicer trimmed back.
Pull off the old mulch in your beds. Purchase enough new mulch (we prefer triple shredded pine bark) to layer at least 3″ deep around all your perennial plants and dress up your beds. Blow away all that old pine straw from natural areas and its hiding places around pots and walkways. Better yet, don’t replace with same, it promotes pests and bugs, and lets face it, pine straw looks ugly!
4. Prep Your Beds
If you planted seedlings indoors, it will still be several weeks before you can plant them outdoors in the ground or in your raised beds. You can, however, get those beds ready now. Figure out where these new babies will live and work to get those areas ready now. Amend the soil, by topping off with some new garden soil, black cow manure, at least a couple inches thick and balance the ph with lime or additional fertilizer. Make sure you dig up the soil and turn it over so that what is down a few inches comes up to the surface and gets aerated. If you made compost over the winter, add that into the mix! Top with a nice layer of mulch, and you will be ready for those new plants in May after the last chance of Old Man Winter returning has passed.
This is a bonus step.
Dream about what you want in your garden during this growing season. Do you want fresh Asian greens for the dinner table? Maybe you always wanted to grow hot peppers, watermelon or tomatoes. Do you want to attract butterflies, or maybe cover a bare spot?
My husband likes to read gardening catalogues (nerd), but I like to visit the garden store. You can see things and talk to people.
Then I go home a dream of my summer garden.
Story by Lindsey Chester. Photo by J Brew.
The Gardening column is sponsored by Garden Supply Company on Old Apex Road in Cary.