In the spring and summer months, everyone is busy outdoors. It’s a time to plant, grow, mow and a host of other chores. There are some things you can do to make this job more enjoyable as the months roll past.
In January, gardening catalogs start to flood our mailbox, packed full of wonderful plants and seeds to grow and sow. if you haven’t been looking through them in earnest, now is the time to get started.
First, make a list of what you know you want in your garden. Garden catalogs offer a huge selection of seed. If you can decide beforehand what you want, you can eliminate the feeling of being overwhelmed. You can order the seed from the garden catalogs, online, or go to your local garden center for seed. This year, I ordered heirloom tomato seeds, cucumber, squash, and pumpkin seeds. I also have a variety of herb seeds waiting for me to plant. Most seeds are easy to germinate. Just follow the directions on the seed packet for great results. March is the month to start sowing seeds indoors so you can plant outdoors when the soil warms. By growing your own seeds, you’ll cut out the middleman, saving you a ton of money.
Clean and sharpen your garden tools. If you’re like me, you didn’t take the time to do that when the season ended. You can sharpen the edges of the shovel, and spade, and don’t forget the blades of your pruning shears or nippers. If you don’t know how to sharpen your tools, or if you think you may ruin them, take them to a professional. Usually someone at your local hardware store will do the job for you. He or she may even take the time to explain how to do it properly. After you finish sharpening the blades, squirt some oil on the spring. Rub some oil on the blades too and then wipe the excess away. This will make your pruning job so much easier. You’ll be amazed. By doing these things now, you’ll be able to grab the right tool and use it right away. You’ll be so happy that you took care of these details before you start gardening. Dull tools make the job that much harder. Sharp blades will slice through the soil and cut off branches with ease.
Tune up your tiller, lawn mower, and chain saw. Nothing is more discouraging than grass 6 inches high and a lawn mower that needs an oil change, and the cutting blades sharpened. Besides, it’s been sitting all winter. Chances are if you have a riding mower, it needs the battery charged as well. The same goes for your tiller. Inspect the motor, change the sparkplugs, and sharpen the tines. By taking care of this now, you can get the job done instead of fixing things.
When the snow has melted, remove the thick layer of mulch you had protecting the perennial plants. If you have burlap covering roses, or other shrubs and bushes, you can remove that as well. Clear off the vegetable garden, but refrain from walking too much on the soil because it will compact and become hard. When the ground dries, you can till it so it’s ready for planting.
If you have birdhouses hanging outside or stored indoors, it’s time to get them ready. Clean them out and do any repairs necessary to give our feathered friends a safe place to live. Just like the upkeep on your home, except on a smaller scale, your birdhouses may need a fresh coat of paint, roof repairs, or a new perch by the door. When you finish, hang them outside. This is the time when many birds are coming back and looking for homes. By encouraging birds into your yard, you’ll have fewer bug problems.