Preparing Your Garden for Spring

Here at Pinecrest Gardens, we are already starting our preparations for the onset of warmer weather and an "awakening" of the plants. We are also preparing for the onset of mosquitoes, spider mites, snails, and everything which might eat our plants. Each year when we start this process, we get quizzical looks from those I tell about the preparations, and I say that we are planning the processes of fertilizing , pest control, weed control, and planting. We will implement the plans in a month or two.  

The most useful and versatile garden
tools ever developed. Take care of them !

 Some of our methods include using organic fertilizers which take several weeks to start breaking down enough to become useful. We'll apply the products now, and they'll take effect next month. We are fixing irrigation heads while the weather is amenable, as well as planning our fertilizer and mulch needs for the next 6 months. We'll take a new look at our nursery and holding areas. These areas are great places for insects and snails to hide, so while the weather is pleasant, we are renovating these storage and potting areas. This is also the time of year to look at soil insect or fungus problems in turf areas, when we have cool, still, humid nights, conditions that are ripe for certain fungus problems to set in. The old term of "spring cleaning" was usually meant for homes after a long and dreary winter in temperate states, but here in the subtropics, this can apply to those situations where we need to do garden maintenance before the predictable onset of some problems. I also have to admit that there are many laborious tasks that delay until the weather and soil are dry enough to work comfortably.

well-used garden tools,
Spring is an excellent time to clean and oil them

This is also a good time to start planning what plants will go into your garden as the weather warms up. In our area, we can plant many annuals which thrive in the winter, but now is a good time to think about their replacements. We plan for an interval of time between the old crop of plants coming out and the new plants being installed. This time gap is an excellent time to till the soil, add fresh soil, add slow-release or organic fertilizers, re-set borders and edges, and all those other details that make gardens thrive.

Stacks of old pots, perfect
homes for snails and insects

Over the last 20 years or more, I learned to start thinking of what to do in a garden months before the time arrives to tackle the project. Thinking ahead of the project's needs will make gardening easier than waiting until the last moment and then rushing to a decision. Use the cooler winter months to research new plants and new ideas. There are so many new plants and new materials on the retail market that sticking to the same plants year after year is a disservice to the wide world of variety available to you.

Craig Morell
Pinecrest Gardens

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