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Winter preparation for your spring garden

Posted on February 17, 2021 at 9:00 am

BY ABRA COLE

Gardening season is fast approaching. Whether you’re planning your second or first pandemic garden, or if you’ve been gardening for years, the library is here for you!

Late winter is an ideal time for garden planning. It may be too early to start seeds in the still-frozen soil, but it’s not too early to start thinking about it and doing some prep work.

CHECKING TOOLS

This is a great, albeit cold, time to head out to the garage or shed to see what your tools look like.

Does anything need to be cleaned or sharpened? Do you have enough containers? How did your work bench serve you last year? Is it time for a new set up? How about building a greenhouse this year?

This is a great time ask yourself all these questions and make sure you are prepared for the intense planting sessions that are to come!

Title to borrow:

The Complete Guide to Greenhouses & Garden Projects: Greenhouses, Cold Frames, Compost Bins, Trellises, Planting Beds, Potting Benches & More, created by the editors of Creative Publishing International in cooperation with Black & Decker

TIDYING UP BEDS

If, like me, you left most of last year’s plant debris in the garden, many small critters that we love to see in our summer gardens probably found some safe spots to survive this winter.

And this means now is the time to clean out last year’s dead plants, weeds, and other detritus that has accumulated over the winter months. This debris makes an excellent start to a compost pile!

Title to borrow:

The Ultimate Guide to Soil: The Real Dirt on Cultivating Crops, Compost, and a Healthier Home, by Anna Hess

PRUNING PERENNIALS

Remember how gigantic that wild rose got along the back fence? Time for a trim!

Pruning allows space for healthy new growth and removing parts of the plant that were overgrown or in the way. Make sure you’re pruning prior to the appearance of new growth on your perennials.

Title to borrow:

The Well-Tended Perennial Garden: The Essential Guide to Planting and Pruning Techniques, by Tracy DiSabato-Aust

CONSIDERING GARDEN DESIGN

This is the best time to reconsider your garden layout. What parts worked last year? What parts didn’t? There so many garden styles out there, it’s hard to know what works best until you’ve tried at least a few of them.

Maybe you’ve heard of Hügelkultur and want to try it out in your garden space. Or maybe one of the following has piqued your interest: The Three Sisters method, vertical, and square foot gardening.

This is the time to lay the groundwork for one of these ideas if you are just starting a garden, or the changes you’d like to make to last year’s garden before you begin to plant.

Here are a few garden-design resources:

STARTING THE WINTER SOW

You don’t have to wait until it’s warm outside to start your seeds. Try the milk-jug winter sow method to let your seeds start when they know the time is right.

Local Master Gardener Susan Mulvihill talks about the milk-jug method on her blog to help you get started.

GETTING SEEDS

Our seed libraries have been lying dormant for the last year. This spring, we’re pulling out all the seeds, bundling them into packs of 12, adding a few surprise goodies, and handing them out to you curbside.

These bundles are currently available at all our libraries. To collect your seed bundle, all you need to do is stop by a library during curbside hours, call the phone number on the curbside pickup sign, and ask us to bring a seed bundle out to you.

The seed packet bundles are available without registration, one per person per visit, while supplies last.

READING FURTHER

Abra Cole

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