Friday, March 10, 2017     Suzanne Hooker     Home Maintenance Tips

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While things are still a little chilly and winter-like outside, there’s little doubt that spring is literally right around the corner. While this conjures up many exciting thoughts, it also means we need to get our gardens and yards prepped for the coming of the warmer weather and growing season.

To help make this an easier job, we’ve come up with this list of tasks you’ll need to complete to get the maximum beauty and enjoyment out of your garden this year.

1)    Slow and steady wins the race

One common mistake many weekend gardeners make at this time of year is going at it too hard from the get go, spending several hours on the first day cleaning and pruning their flower beds, grass, shrubs and trees for the coming of spring.

Many people don’t realize how physically demanding gardening can be, particularly when the temperature is cooler and muscles don’t warm up as easily as they would on a hot summer’s day. It’s best to take it easy the first couple of times you trek out to your garden to do some work. Be sure to keep yourself and your muscles warm, take things slowly, and most importantly be sure to stretch your back, arms and legs before, during and after your gardening workout. Your body will be happy you did!

2)    Cleanup time

The first thing you need to do when you get outside is clean up your yard and flower beds. There can be anything from leaves to damaged tree limbs and shrubs around your yard, not to mention garbage that’s blown in from the neighbours. Be sure to clean up as much as you can; your goal is to provide an ideal environment to promote growth. Anything that might get in the way of this needs to be removed. This includes removing any dead leaves and growth from around your perennials.

3)    Revitalize the soil

The soil is the basis for healthy plant growth throughout your yard so it’s essential your soil is healthy and rich in nutrients. A common item that many experienced gardeners add to their flower beds to rejuvenate the soil is one of either compost, peat moss or manure. Either one will enhance the quality of your soil, providing an optimal growing environment for your plants and shrubs.

4)    Prune your plants

Besides cleaning away any dead parts of your shrubs and plants, you also need to prune some of them back, particularly those that may have lost their shape or become overgrown last summer. It’s best to prune your plants in mid-April to early May to avoid the risk of any frost damage to newly pruned plants.

5)    The importance of mulch

Mulch is one of the most important items for any flower bed, shrub or young tree. That’s because of the many beneficial qualities it provides to your garden, from beautifying your garden to preventing the growth of weeds to helping with moisture retention and regulating ground temperature on very hot days. You will likely need to top up your mulch annually as it decomposes over time, especially over the winter. Be sure to have at least 2-4 centimetres of mulch in all your beds.

6)    Replanting

Winters can be rather harsh, resulting in damage or death to some of your plants and shrubs that then may need to be replaced. Be sure to choose plants based on the soil condition and the amount of sun in the given location. Perennials are the best option for most flower beds since they don’t have to be replaced very year. You can add annuals to all your pots and planters around your home.

While this may look like an overwhelming list of tasks to complete, as we first said, the key is to take your time and do things one step at a time. Before you know it you will have a beautiful garden that will be the envy of the neighbourhood. Happy gardening!

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