Jump-Start Your Garden
Tackle these four tasks now and be prepared for the upcoming growing season.
TUNE UP YOUR TOOLS
Clean your tools with a damp cloth to remove last season’s encrusted dirt. You may need to soak off or chip away at caked-on crud. Sand off rust spots and wipe blades with a soft, oil-soaked rag. Tighten bolts and sharpen edges.
ORDER SEEDS AND PLANTS
Consult your favorite catalogs for seeds and plants, and order early for the best selection. Mail-order nurseries ship to your growing zone only when it’s safe to do so, but seeds will arrive sooner. Plant according to your area’s last expected frost date.
Compost is beneficial for your garden early in the season because it generates heat as it decomposes—a hedge against spring’s temperature swings. On a clear day, sprinkle compost over your garden to a depth of 1 to 3 inches. Be careful not to bury emerging perennials or spring-flowering bulbs.
MOVE AND DIVIDE PERENNIALS
Most dormant plants are easy to move. Dig a hole, improve the soil and have a hose or watering can handy. Quickly dig up the plant and take the biggest possible root ball. If you’re making divisions, separate the plant into substantial sections with a sharp, clean shovel, trowel or knife. Transfer the plant to its new spot, setting it in the ground at the same level it was growing before.