Spring is almost here (I promise), and while the weather forecaster stubbornly predicts more snow and grizzly nighttime temps, our garden beds are slowly awakening. With a few nice days lined up in our forecast, its a great time to get a jump start on your garden. A little time in Spring to do these three simple tasks will yield enormous dividends later in the season, as you sip lemonade and watch your neighbor toil in the weeds.
1. Clean Up – Lightly rake out your garden beds, removing leaves, sticks and other debris that may have accumulated over the long winter. Not only will raking improve the aesthetic appearance of your garden bed, it will also increase air circulation and sunlight to your plants. Take a little time to clean and cut back your perennials if you neglected the chore in fall, and remove dead growth.
2. Mulch – Mulch your garden beds before the weeds have a chance to gain strength and spread. Mulching is probably the single most important and beneficial task you can do for your garden. Mulching not only discourages weeds from germinating (crushing the competition for your plants and eliminating the need for herbicides) , it also helps the soil retain moisture (cutting down the need for constant watering), protects root systems from blistering summer heat, and encourages the growth of worms and other beneficial organisms that can help improve soil quality. And did I mention that a well mulched garden bed looks great too?
3. Preen with Fertilizer – Preen is a wonderful product for those who enjoy a weed-free garden without the toil and backache. Preen creates a gaseous layer in the garden bed that prohibits weeds from germinating yet causes no ill effect to your existing plants. In addition , Preen Weed and Feed contains fertilizer, providing nutrients to your plants. When using Preen with mulch (which I call the weed prevention double Whammy) apply Preen after you mulch.