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The Great April Clean Up!

Updated: Mar 20

Spring in the Midwest is a funny thing. If you don't like the weather, hang around for an hour, right? As long as the occasional spring-winter is followed by sunshine, I’ll keep smiling!


Around her, the end of winter starts the beginning of our growing season. We started hundreds of seeds when the calendar flipped to February, not long after putting our field to bed for last season. It makes our long cold days seem green and busy but with the beginning of spring, there's lots to do in preparation for blooms! No matter how avid a gardener you are or what size the ground you work, the tips in today's blog post apply to everyone! Let the APRIL TASKS begin!


Cool Season Sowing

Now is the time to directly sow cool season vegetable and flower seeds. As a rule of thumb, these seeds go in the ground as soon as you can esily work the soil : Cauliflower, cabbage, peas, bachelor buttons, petunias, and larkspur to name a

few. If you started any seeds in doors last month, now is the time to harden them off! These babies will safely transplant out by the end of the month. With a few simple guidelines, hardening off cool weather plants is a snap.







Dividing Perennials

If you didn't get to it in the fal, now is the time to divide your perennials. Early spring offers not only a visual locator but nicer weather to boot! If you mulched any plants or bushes for winter protection, remove enough of the mulch so that new growth can emerge unimpeded.


Early Weeding and Soil Testing

Spring clean the flower beds by weeding while invaders are small and easy to root up. Remove old perennial leaves left for protection, so that new growth can reach the sun. If you are starting a new patch for planting or just reviving an old one, a soil test is a quick and simple task that will yield fantastic results for the health of your soil and the growth and production of your plants. We often do ours in the fall so we can amend the soil and let it rest through the winter, but spring is also a perfect time! All you need is a small shovel and a gallon sized zip lock bag labeled with your name and address. Go out to your space and dig 4 to 6 inches down, get a core sample of dirt from 10 random spots in your garden. Add it all to the same bag and drop it off wherever your county extension office suggests. We take ours to the local mill, Marshall Grain in Amanda and Barry has the results back in about a week. For us it’s a $15 fee that’s more than worth it! When the test returns, amend the soil accordingly and till in.





Composting

Are you a composter? Now is a great time to turn your compost pile. Whether you own a fancy turning composter or a tri-frame pallet monstrosity like we do, composting is an easy and super beneficial hobby to take up! Adding home compost (no meat or eggs please) to your soil will help build up healthy matter and provide for necessary microorganisms.




Prune

If you feel comfortable, now is the time to prune shrubs that don't bloom on old wood. If you’re unfamiliar with the terms old and new wood, a few short YouTube instructional videos should do the trick. If you’re not comfortable with it or if the shrub or bush is especially sentimental to you, I would suggest hiring the task out.


And last but not least, one of my very favorite things to do is plant out new perennials.

Although we start 99% of our plants from seed, it is good for my soul to purchase a few of my favorite healthy perennials already prepared to bloom. I just plant them and let them do their thing! One of our favorite small plant centers is Engles Landscaping in Ashville, Ohio. Their sweet little garden shed, with its fluffy cats and fairy garden essentials is hemmed in by greenhouses that are chock full of healthy perennials and annuals.


Each month will bring a unique garden task list and although the Midwest can be unpredictable (It’d be fine if it weren’t for the wind, right?), take advantage of the beautiful days we have and get your hands dirty! Science says it’s good for your soul.

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