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Tips for Preparing and Planning Your Garden for Spring and Summer

When do I start preparing my yard and garden for warmer months, right now!

1. Decide how you want to use your outdoor spaces.

Sketch a plan or layout, this will help you plan your new vegetable garden or walking path. Here are a few planners to help you start.

2. Update your tools if needed.

Make sure your lawnmower, your clippers, and hose are all in good working order. Here are 25 Gardening Tools and Essentials for Year-Round Care

3. Aerate & dethatch your lawn.

Lawn aeration helps loosen compacted soil and allows vital air, water, and nutrients to reach the roots. Dethatching is removing the layer of living and dead grass and other plant material.

Here are a few tips

4. Fertilize.

Start your lawn off right by giving a light dose of fertilizer including nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Apply early spring lawn fertilizer once between February and April. Click here to see a month to month schedule

5. Add mulch.

Mulching helps stimulate plant health and growth. Most mulch will suppress weeds and other undesirable plants in your garden. Weeds compete with our trees and shrubs for vital nutrients and water. If we eliminate the weeds, the plant materials stand a far greater chance of survival. Weeds also make the garden look unsightly and messy. Your local Arden source is BB Barns.

6. Plan your first seeds and bulbs.

Cool-season vegetables can tolerate colder temperatures and some frost. March is a great time to plant vegetable seeds.

Beautiful summer-flowering bulbs such as dahlias, cannas, and lilies can be planted in spring. If you can take pots under cover at night, you can plant up summer containers and hanging baskets in late spring.

7. Prepare your plants for cold spells.

Make sure plants are watered before a frost, except for succulents. Cover plants with a cloth or bucket before sunset the night frost is expected and remove the cover in the morning when the temperature warms up above freezing. Cold-hardy succulents need to be covered during a frost as well. If the plants are in containers, they can simply be placed in a sheltered location such as a garage overnight. Source

Use a Frost Cloth for trees and shrubs

8. Keep those pesky pests out.

Pests aren’t limited to insects. In WNC they include raccoons, squirrels, bears, groundhogs, and more—anything that invades your garden uninvited. To minimize intrusions, try these strategies:

- Lose the bird feeder and replace it with a birdbath, which you will want to refresh daily. Birds need water, and they will do a lot of insect control on their own.

- Secure trash with bear and raccoon-proof closures. Do not keep sweets in the car and keep car doors locked.

- Choose plants with a minimal appeal to animals and birds. Try the onion family, aromatic herbs, evergreens with pointy leaves or foliage, and plants with fuzzy branches or thorns.

- Eliminate sources of standing water, which allow mosquitoes to breed during warm weather. Check drainage pipes and the shallow dishes holding potted plants. Source

For more information on spring planting season visit The Old Farmer's Almanac, Planting Calendar for Asheville, NC

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