Jump-Start Your Gar­den

Tackle th­ese four tasks now and be pre­pared for the up­com­ing grow­ing sea­son.

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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.

SPREAD COM­POST

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.

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