Spring has arrived in my area. Snow is melting at long last (good thing too, because I have been on a snow-shoveling boycott since mid-March) and birds, insects and other garden creatures are returning or waking from a long frosty snooze. I am obsessed with seed catalogues, free online gardening seminars and fighting the urge to just throw all my tools into the back of my truck and get to work in customer gardens.
We may all feel ready for the 2022 garden season, but wanna know who (or what) isn't? .....Our gardens! Underneath the leaf litter, inside hollow flower and leaf stems and buried in the mulch and earth layers are all the insects and earth creatures that keep our soil and plants healthy, pollinated and thriving. Although our days are warming up, nights are still pretty chilly. And occasionally, we are surprised with another little (or not so little) dump of the white stuff. Gardens and the creatures that help them thrive need warmth to wake up and get busy with all of their respective jobs. A good rule of thumb is "ten in ten" or ten days in a row with temperatures of +10c (or 50 degrees F). That is sufficient time for insects to emerge from dormant states, larvae to to develop and all those hidden garden systems to get fired up.
So what does that mean for us two legged creatures? If you are among the many who left a lot of last year's plant material standing in your fall and winter gardens or filled your beds with fallen leaves and plant matter, it is most advisable to wait until we reach that "ten in ten" milestone before cleaning out your garden beds. This prevents disturbing the habitat of all those beneficial insects and possibly throwing them into the organics bin or compost piles.
While we are waiting, we can clean up patios, decks and pathways; dig out our pots and containers to get them ready to be filled; sort and clean our garden tools; purchase seeds or bulbs for spring planting; and of course walk through the garden to note work to be done, observe early spring progress and make plans for the upcoming season. This is also the time to complete late winter pruning of certain shrubs and trees. Need help? Advice or suggestions? Resources? Contact us! And be patient, enjoy this time of snow melt and spring awakening and the small
changes happening everyday in our gardens!