Spring Gardening Tips - Boost Your Planting Power
I love this time of year. My allergies usually hit late in Calgary (July) and so I can get elbows deep in dirt without my head exploding quite yet, and trust me, I take advantage.
Yard clean ups are starting. And with insects around the planet dying off at an alarming rate, remember to leave dead materials in place until the ground has fully melted and leaves and last years plant materials are dry. Most creepy-crawlies hibernate (think ladybugs and garden-soil-boosting earthworms!!) or lay eggs in last-years plant material and they will have vacated the premises by the time the leaves on the ground are dry and easy to rake.
Water early. The trick to using way less water in the year is to establish strong and heathy plants in spring. Once the ground dries out, even when it’s still frosting at night, watering your trees, shrubs and perennials (even before budding) is actually smart. I usually water about once a week depending on how dry the soil is until heat hits (from about April-June), and by then my plants are strong and their roots go deep enough and I only water a few every few weeks in the heat of the summer. Less evaporation. Stronger plants. Far less waste. Everyone is happy.
Most of you will know this one, but a reminder to get going never hurts and it is my favorite garden enhancement. Starting once the snow melts, until the snow flies again, save your old coffee and coffee grounds. I water down any coffee I have left over and pour it directly into the garden, picking a new spot every day. More importantly, save your old coffee grounds (I still throw the paper filters into the green bin). I just keep a little bucket under the sink, they actually never mold or get stinky. Once every couple of weeks, starting on one side of the garden and rotating your location each time, pour your grounds at the base of plants, shrubs and trees. About a cup or so for smaller ones and more for the established big ones. No need to dig it is, just water it in.
Coffee beans are very high in Potassium and Nitrogen, and even help to ph balance your soil. A natural fertilizer that won’t cost a thing or harm the natural ego system.
You will see weeds popping up before the plants really even start coming back. You will have a much better chance of pulling out the roots and keep them from coming back if you pull them AFTER you water the ground. It sounds counter-intuitive I know, to water a weed. Think of it as watering your plants, and loosening your weeds. Bye-bye little jerks.
Are you a Hosta-Lover? They are my very favorite plant. They are stunning, textured, and have the most beautiful blue-hues, but unfortunately they attract slugs. (This tip works for all of your plants that get attacked by slugs, not just Hostas.) Thankfully there is one tiny thing you can do to prevent a season on slimy-slug-plucking (even I have my limits). Around spring clean up time, I not only save coffee-grounds, but egg shells. Let them dry out (just throw them on the top of the coffee grounds to dry) and then crush them into chunky pieces without your hands or inside a paper towel. If you sprinkle a handful of these where your Hostas will pop up, it stops the slugs from climbing up and you will have way less damage. When I do this only a couple of times during spring clean-up, I rarely see any slugs during the year. Plus the calcium is also a great soil booster!
That’s it for today. Go get dirty!