Monday, March 7, 2011

Signs of Spring! Five things to do now to get a head start and save money.

I did a little dance of joy this morning when I was putting the garbage cans away. The weekend of rain finally washed away the last of the snow to reveal… daffodils! Okay not really daffodils, but their little green stems. Yup, about half of an inch of wondrous promise that this very tough winter won’t last forever.

This harbinger of spring made me realize that there are only about 10 weeks left before May 15th, the last frost date on Long Island (zone 7 by most accounts). Gosh! I have so much to do!

Here are the first five things that will save you time and money when spring arrives.

Attend a local garden show. Take pictures of any designs that you like. Even if you don’t have the space or resources to fully implement any of the designs you like, you may be able to incorporate some of what you see into your design to freshen it up. There is a great show at Hicks Nursery, Westbury, NY in March. This year it starts on March 10th and runs through March 2oth. They have a lot of great ideas and sales too. Click here for details on the show.

Plan any changes to your design. Once you are fully charged with new ideas from a garden show or magazines, start planning. First, determine if some of the plants you already have, might look better elsewhere or fit into a new design. Then, write out or roughly sketch your new plan and make a list of any new plants you will want to add. Lastly, research the germination period and the date it’s safe to plant them. Just because a plant is being sold at the garden center doesn’t mean it’s the optimal time to plant it.

Start seeds and summer bulbs indoors now. After you have your list and know the germination periods you may be able to start some of your stock from seeds. This can literally save hundreds of dollars. There are many seed starting kits available on the market, however, I frequently use a “reduce, reuse, recycle” method and just cut the tops off old milk cartons and soda bottles. Then I fill then with good potting soil, add the seeds or bulbs, put them in my basement and follow the watering instructions on the packages.

Rake up any leaves you missed during fall clean up. No matter how well you rake and bag in the fall, there always seems to be a mess in the spring. Taking a quick pass around the yard now will free up time later when it’s warm enough to get digging.

Prune. Most plants prefer to be pruned right after they bloom or in the fall. However, there are a few that can be pruned in the spring. Butterfly bush, hydrangea, lavender and roses all benefit from a vigorous pruning in the early spring. Since there is already so much to do for fall clean up, it’s handy to be able to save this task for Spring.

Ten weeks always seems to go by faster than we expect. Getting an early start, saves time and money. And besides the practical reasons, it will help make the winter feel shorter and the summer seem longer. How can that be a bad thing?

photos by Brandie Shaw

1 comment:

  1. I just found your Blog...through Pinterest, love the simple advice. I also have trouble with pruning and end up with a jungle, which happens fast in CA.
    thanks for your pointers