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Start Your Spring Garden
by Janet Grischy
Gardening in spring is one of the joys of the changing seasons. You’re out of the house, the first flowers are emerging, the sky is a clear blue and a rich scent rises off the freshly turned earth. You can look forward to spring bulbs blossoming this month, starting your summer vegetables indoors and beginning to plan your gardening season.
All your spring bulbs should be blooming soon. Be sure to dead-head (remove the spent flowers) to prolong bloom, but leave the strappy green leaves to dry naturally. They nourish the bulbs that produce next year’s flowers. Distract from them instead, with potted plants or other plantings.
Draw the eyes upward in your spring garden with a fragrant mass of sweet peas. Train sweet peas up a natural willow tipi, for example, to get a rush of fragrance and multi-colored beauty. The tower will work to train bright nasturtiums later in the year, or for pole beans in your vegetable garden. The form is ideal for climbers, and the natural material is a great addition to any garden.
You can plant the tulips, daffodils and callas that you buy in pots out in your garden. Wait until they finish blooming, and set them out so the soil comes to the same level on the plant as it did in the pot. With luck you’ll see them bloom again next year.
Spring gardening tips
Never dig the soil when it’s wet. It compacts and hardens the earth so plant roots have to struggle to grow. Form a ball of soil in your hand, and if it doesn’t fall apart, don’t dig. Instead, lay a top dressing of compost and well-rotted manure over the soil and work it in as you plant when the days get warmer.
You can easily start summer vegetables on windowsills or extend your growing season with a clever soft-sided greenhouse that converts to raised cedar beds and back again. Tomatoes, peppers both sweet and hot, and eggplant will benefit from an early start, and broccoli and snow peas will thrive well into winter in its shelter.
Spring is the season of promise. Its sudden warmth lets you look forward to lush summer and the rich harvests of fall. The work you do in your garden now is almost like play. You’ll forget the everyday world, and your cares will fade away. When you’re gardening in spring, the whole world feels reborn.