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Spring: A Coiled Piece of Metal, or A Time to Take Action?

Updated on May 5, 2015
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Neil grew up in Smithfield, Utah, on a hobby farm and learned gardening from his father and other area farmers that he worked with.

Notice how some plants are up and moving before there has been time to remove last year’s growth.  Now the concern is, what do I put next to it after the tops of the Tulips have died?
Notice how some plants are up and moving before there has been time to remove last year’s growth. Now the concern is, what do I put next to it after the tops of the Tulips have died?

Weeds: the enemy.

Weeds are generally considered undesirable plants in a well groomed yard. They are typically hardy, with strong and/or deep root systems, and/or extremely quick growth and seed production. Sometimes weeds can even be the same plants we want in other places. For example, grass, that same green ground cover that we typically use for high traffic areas, can also be a weed in a well groomed flower garden. Weed control is different for each weed and situation (some weeds survive by choking out other plants, some survive by growing roots halfway to China), but each situation will need to be addressed at nearly every stage of the garden’s growth.

Rocks: Pros and Cons

Rocks can add character and contrast to a yard, but they can also be a major obstacle when cultivating a garden. The trick is to plan for both contingencies. Usually after the first few years the larger rocks (that add character to a well groomed garden) have been pushed to the surface. This leaves only smaller stones that can be moved to the side and used for drainage in other areas of the garden, or in containers elsewhere that will be pushed up from the depths. Either way, rocks are typically an issue only when planting.

A spring is a coiled piece of metal designed to collect and release energy.

The season spring is the time of year when all of that energy that has been stored up during the winter is released. For the casual observer, it can be a glorious time to watch nature and the re-awakening process. For the yard keeper, however, spring can be an intense time, requiring lots of hard work and energy to create the desired effect. Annuals and seeds must be planted, thatch and other dead plant material must be removed in order to make room for the new growth of perennials and annuals alike.

These are all major projects, that cannot be ignored if one is to have the desired yard (or harvest) later in the summer or fall, and there is only so much energy to be obtained from being cooped up all winter. That said, many gardeners run out of steam by late spring, and a would-be masterpiece is dying on the vine (pun intended) when the full heat of summer rears it’s head. Weeds will have taken hold, and will be as tall or taller than all but the tallest flowering plant or tree which will be struggling with the heat, waiting for that rare watering.

The solution is to take some of that built up energy and design some preventative maintenance into the masterpiece before that energy is exhausted. (Note: only a couple basic elements can be covered here.)

Watering.

Planning ahead to make it simple may sound rather self explanatory, but why experiment later, when you can plan when there is still lots of energy in the spring. First, put plants that need similar watering schedules together, (yes some plants need more water than others!) Hoses placed early will quickly be covered by fast growing foliage and can supply strategically placed sprinklers and sections of soaker hose through the entire growing season. Then map out a watering schedule (even something as simple as twice a week on these days is better than nothing). The plants will thank you by staying green.

Ground Cover.

Weeds (see side bar) will have a much harder time surviving when appropriate ground cover is used, and irregular watering can work when the ground is covered as well. Mulch, landscape fabric, and even plain old newspaper can be used to cover areas where live ground cover is not desired, but there is much to be said for live ground cover both in color as well as maintenance. Make sure any large areas between plants is covered, both to prevent weeds and keep the garden attractive.

For gardens, spring is simply the beginning of the journey that lasts all summer. For the human care takers, spring can be a time of renewed energy, but that energy may not last all summer. Thus the planning and preparation to ensure that the gardeners’s energy is preserved for the long haul is vital. Fortunately that little bit of planning can make the maintenance of a garden much easier.

qed.

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