Monday, March 17, 2014

Pre-Spring Prep

Hello my lovlies- it's been awhile, hasn't it? Thankfully, it's because I've been a very busy lil' bee. I can't wait to tell you all about it!

I have to admit, I lose inspiration to write from January - March. The holidays are over, winter recipes become a rut, and you can only do so much outside with freezing temperatures, snow, and ice. Then mid-March comes along and BAM! Garden ideas, house projects, and fresh produce get my "muse" back on track!

Speaking of mid-March- it's that time of year again. Where I get a week (or two if I'm lucky) to prepare this year's garden before allergy season is in full bloom. I know many of you are itching to rush to your nearest nursery and pick out your favorite herbs, flowers, and plants. There at lot of work to get done before you start digging away in your pots & garden beds though.

The last remaining days of winter/beginning of Spring is the ideal time to prepare your garden. now that all the snow is gone, you have to get your yard in order for this year's planting. First off, if you haven't already, you need to prune. We normally hold off until this time of year because I find it easier to cut everything back after it's dried out through out the winter. Some plants do prefer to be pruned before winter though. You just need to research your perennials.
I greatly cut back our butterfly bush. It looks sad, but just give it a few weeks.

For several perennials, you simply need to cut back what's dead. That's especially the case for several bulbs like echinacea and lilies.

While you are pruning, also clear out your flower bed. Remove leaves, branches, and the beginning of weeds. Not only does this tidy up your garden, but it also prevents attracting any kind of pest that is attracted to debris.

While it's still too early for several plants, you can start a few by seeds about now. It maybe too early to sow in the ground though. About the earliest you can start (depending on your temperate zone) is April. I couldn't help myself though. I started a few of my own seed pods.
Sadly, last year's attempt at growing seeds from the newspaper pods didn't go so well. I'm trying two new approaches this year though. Above is using biodegradable egg cartons filled with soil & seeds. Below are toilet paper rolls cut in half. If both work correctly, I should eventually be able to plant each pod into the ground when ready. We shall see! Here are some more tips on growing seeds from the Old Farmer's Almanac.

Side note: I did not lay the pans with paper towels or newspaper this year. I think it may have attracted mold last year. I'm also cutting back on the water- aka- not drowning the pods.

I know it's hard to start feeling 60- 70 degree temperatures and not want to immediately start planting. I get it. It's hard to be patient after several cold months of winter. I'm finding it better to plant later rather than early though. Planting early risks another freeze and attracting pests when the plants are still too young to defend themselves.

If you really need to see some growth though- just keep a eye out for early signs of spring. Several daffodils are already in full bloom...
Found this lovely surprise Friday!
And if you look close enough while pruning, you may be astonished to see your plants already at work...
Those little red buds are the start of this year's echinacea!
You may even find a friend or two!
Well hello there, lil' lady!
Don't worry friends, full-out spring will be here soon enough.