It’s March! Time for Spring Cleaning Inside and OUT!

Spring has sprung! While we often think of cleaning the inside of our homes during this season, our gardens need lots of love too. Before you dive headfirst into planting and tending, here’s a guide to help you get your outdoor space ready for a flourishing spring and summer.

Prep Your Tools and Plants

  • Gear Up: Before venturing out, clean your garden tools thoroughly to prevent the spread of diseases between plants. After you remove any dirt or debris, disinfect shears, saws, and loppers. We recommend isopropyl alcohol. Simply dip the blades, no soaking or washing afterwards required!
  • Prune for Growth: Remove dead branches that winter left behind, wiping your tools with disinfectant between cuts, especially if you suspect disease. Pull up any remaining annuals, adding the soil to your compost bin. Hold off pruning spring bloomers with visible buds until after they flower.
  • Divide and Conquer: This is the perfect time to divide perennials like daylilies and agapanthus, allowing you to fill in empty spaces in your garden. Tidy up semi-evergreen perennials by removing any tattered foliage to encourage new growth.

Create a Clean Slate

  • Weed Wisely: As you prepare to amend your soil, pull out any weeds that have popped up. Remember, “a weed is any plant out of place”!
  • Remove old mulch and prune all the way down to the ground. This allows you to start fresh and create a garden you’ll enjoy throughout the season.
  • Enrich the Soil: Amend your soil with compost, organic conditioners, and earthworms (available at your local nursery). Adding a rich organic fertilizer will further activate beneficial microorganisms as the soil warms.
  • Cover Bare Soil: Start with a fresh coat of mulch.

Plan for the Future

Planning to plant peas, cucumbers, and tomatoes? Set up cages now in areas with full sun exposure. Watch these tall and abundant plants doesn’t shade another sun-lover! Take care to plant the right plant in the shade.

Beneficial Buddies

  • Fight Pests Naturally: Introduce beneficial nematodes to your soil to combat harmful pests. This is the ultimate step in soil preparation! (watch our video on beneficial nematode application for a visual guide).
  • Attract the Good Guys: Protect your garden with beneficial insects like ladybugs, lacewings, and praying mantises. Provide them with a welcoming home by setting up a ladybug house and mason bee house. This will attract the good guys who will help keep your garden free of destructive pests.
  • Beneficial insects can be purchased at your local nursery. To find one near you, just use our handy store locator and pick some up along with your other “garden prep” products.

Roses: A Special Touch

Roses require specific care; early spring is the perfect time to give them some extra attention. To help your roses produce vibrant blooms throughout the season. 

  • Prune: Early spring is a great time to remove dead, damaged, or diseased wood. You’ll encourage new growth and help to maintain the shape of the plants. 
  • Cut back the remaining stems by one-third to one-half, depending on the type of rose.
  • Make cuts at 45° angles, about ¼ inch above an outward-facing bud.
  • Feed plants with a balanced, slow-release organic fertilizer. Follow manufacturer’s instructions to apply around the base of the plant. Work fertilizer into the soil to release nutrients into the root zones.
  • Add compost, Gromulch or soil conditioner around the base of the plant for better fertility and soil structure.
  • Spray liquid seaweed or fish emulsion to provide essential nutrients and promote plant health.
  • Plan ahead to control pests. Monitor roses for common pests like aphids, spider mites, and thrips. Release ladybugs and lacewings in combination to safeguard your roses. Your beneficial insects will multiply and continue to provide natural, organic protection for all your plants, without the use of insecticides.
  • Monitor for common rose diseases like black spot, powdery mildew, and rust. Apply an all-natural fungicide like ORGANICIDE and ensure proper air circulation around your roses to prevent future outbreaks.

The Finishing Touches

  • Clean Up the Hard Surfaces: Sweep up stones and power-wash patios and walkways to remove slippery algae and loose dirt.

Now you have a clean and prepped canvas to create a stunning spring garden! With a little planning and effort, you can ensure your outdoor space flourishes throughout the season.

Beneficial insects for the garden can be found at nurseries and garden centers near you.  You can search for a store near you here.