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Posts Tagged ‘DIY’

Gardening, done well, is at least 50% preparation. Once you realize what you should have done, it’s probably too late for this year. So, having a garden journal is invaluable to for successful planning for next year.

Here are a few things to look out for this spring, and steps to make next year even better:

  1. A Blank Slate – By fall when the bulb catalogues arrive, it’s easy to forget where you planted what. Take photos and use inconspicuous plant markers to remind yourself where you have clusters of daffodils or where you meant to add that globe allium. (Geek tip: If you use Evernote to capture random ideas on your smartphone or tablet, the Skitch app lets you easily annotate photos right on your device.)
  2. Color Me Beautiful – Love it or hate it, flowering shrubs give spring in New England a distinctive palette. Yellow forsythia, mauve ‘PJM’ rhododendrons,  lilac magnolias, scarlet quince, and a range of cherry-blossom pinks. If you have mature flowering shrubs on your property, take note of the color and bloom time, and build bulb and perennial planting around a similar color family. For instance, forsythia could take tulips in loud, saturated reds and oranges, or contrast with more subdued purples and blues of scilla, hyacinth, and periwinkle.   tulips, hyacinth, squill and forsythia forsythia, parrot tulips, hyacinth, ranunculus
  3. The Grass Is Always Greener – After doing a spring clean-up and seeing bare patches where last year’s crabgrass died out or there is too much shade, one’s inclination is always to want to rip up the whole yard and start from scratch. Don’t. Spread some compost and grass seed now, but wait to do major renovations until late August, when  the grass seed will stand a chance against weeds. The one exception: if you have a shady area where grass is patch, and you are ready to develop it into a planting bed, its easiest to do it in spring while you are edging and mulching beds.
  4. Seedy Characters – Want to start a veggie garden, but don’t want to wait to buy expensive seedlings at the farmer’s market? Plan ahead next winter so that you can start your seeds in time. Here’s a nifty seed starting calculator from Margaret Roach at AWaytoGarden.com to tell you when and how to start what in your zone.

toddler & mom planting seeds

What did you remember to do this spring? What do you want to remember for next year? Let us know in the comments!

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garden seating area in springTwo-plus months in to the year, how are you doing with those New Year’s resolutions? Luckily, the gardening year in the Boston area is just starting, so you have a chance to start off on the right foot with your outdoor plans. Doing a thorough and careful spring clean up lays the groundwork (no pun intended!) for a year of trouble-free gardening:

  1. Prune dead and broken branches from ornamental trees and shrubs, repairing any snow damage.
  2. Prune roses and renew over-grown shrubs before new growth starts. This will ensure vigorous growth, and improved flowering and shape for the rest of the year.
  3. Remove leaf litter from around trees and shrubs to prevent the spread of disease.
  4. Rake lawn areas. Assess bare areas, and either overseed or plan new planting beds if lawn is not the best choice. If possible, postpone new lawn installations until late summer.
  5. For a clean look, hand-edge beds before mulching. This keeps mulch from spilling out onto the lawn, and discourages grass from rooting into the beds.
  6. Add compost to planting beds. If you shredded and piled leaves last fall, this is the time to add that good organic material back to the soil.
  7. Add well-composted mulch to planting beds, to a depth of 2-3″. This will reduce weeds and add organic material to the soil. Do not use mulch that has a sour smell, as it may harm your plants.

For more maintenance tips, see our Yard Maintenance Owner’s Manual (PDF).

Get more inspiration for spring gardens on our Spring Forward Pinterest board.

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Download a free organic maintenance checklist

When do I prune this? How high should I mow my lawn? Can I cut back my perennials after they turn brown?

Get answers to these and other basic organic maintenance questions by downloading this simple checklist. Then, go deeper with landscape tips and design ideas from our bi-monthly newsletter. Enjoy!

Something we forgot to answer?  Give us a shout on Facebook or Twitter, and we’ll try to help.

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