Spring Cleaning In The Garden

Amanda Harper

 

If you’re itching to get gardening but impatiently waiting for winter to finally clear out of Kentucky, you’re in luck! There’s plenty to do this month to get your garden ready for warmer growing days ahead.

Divide and Conquer

Your perennials spread underground during their growing season. March is a great time to ensure that they’re growing where you want them. Once the ground has fully thawed, use a spade to lift the clumps, then break them up with a knife (my mom uses a Chicago Cutlery steak knife, but I promise they sell ones just for gardening.)

A few perennials, like peonies and irises, prefer to be divided in early summer. Lilies prefer to be moved in early October. Some plants are just so picky!

Spring Cleanup

If you’re anything like me, your garden beds are a total mess by March. Dead leaves and half-composted mulch get packed down by winter weather, making it impossible for new growth to poke through. All that gross, neglected mess can also be a breeding ground for mushrooms and mold when warmer weather hits.

Trim away any dead foliage you may or may not have ignored back in November. Rake leaves and mulch back and let the ground breathe for a bit. You can mulch safely when the soil has soaked up some sunshine and warmed up, probably in mid-April.

A few other spring cleaning “honey-do” tasks for you:

  • Give ornamental grasses a haircut.

  • Clean out birdhouses.

  • Prune dead and damaged branches.

  • Take inventory in your gardening shed.

  • Check for frost damage on concrete and path stones.

  • Cut back diseased or damaged roses.

  • If you want your soil tested, send a sample in now.

  • Find out what shrubs or berry plants may be appropriate to plant right now.

Hot Tip!

If you plan on growing cool-season crops (such as kale, peas, radishes, turnips, or spinach) outdoors, try warming your soil! Cover your bed with CLEAR plastic sheeting about three weeks before you decide to start planting. Weigh it down with rocks or bricks. You can leave the plastic over the bed until seedlings grow to 1⁄2 an inch, or when the weather starts to warm up.