Spring is in the air

Spring, the season we eagerly wait for, has arrived. Days are now getting longer, birds are chirping, looking for potential nesting sites, and most of all, the early-blooming trees, shrubs and bulbs are at their peak. While spring indeed brings us a sense of relief that winter is pretty much behind us, it creates excitement as well to start making plans for the garden.

But before we catch the spring fever, we really need to remind ourselves that the average last frost date for our area is April 15th. So, it is for the best to resist the urge of buying annual or vegetable plants any earlier; planted too soon, these tender plants show poor or stunted growth, if they survive a late frost at all. Rather than rushing into activities that are better done when the time is right, listed below, therefore, in random order, are some suggestions to relieve the “gardener’s itch”:

  • Check tools that have not been used all winter long; for safety reasons and to avoid clutter, discard the ones that are broken or damaged.
  • In addition to being an eyesore, weeds compete with the cultivated plants for nutrients and moisture.  Therefore, take charge by removing them manually; aside from being a good physical activity, a nice sense of accomplishment comes with doing such chores. This is also a good time to apply a pre-emergence weed-controlling agent such as Preen to reduce the summer weed population.   
  • Shop for summer-flowering bulbs to take advantage of the wide selection that is available now. Store them properly until ready to plant after the frost date is over.
  • Remove dead, dried leaves and debris around perennials taking care not to injure the new growth that has come up. To give them a boost, apply a slow-release fertilizer such as Plant-tone.     
  • Houseplants can be watered more often once new growth is seen along with a dilute-balanced liquid fertilizer. Also, the root-bound ones can be repotted if necessary.     
  • Remove spent blooms of pansies to prevent seed set thus extending the flowering period.
  • Last of all, savor the spring while it lasts!        

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