the big “to-do” list

It has been gorgeous the last few days and is supposed to continue until at least the beginning of next week. I was out in the garden [I have another post to make about the things growing] and around the yard looking at damage done over winter and what clean up needs to be done.

As I make out a list of things I need to do in the garden and the yard, I read an article on how to prepare your raised beds. I have two raised beds in the front with very sandy soil. Actually, I wouldn’t even call it soil, just… sand. It needed watering every day to stay even somewhat moist. So to improve the texture and make it more nutrient-rich I will need to head out to a landscaping place or visit some local farmers to get a good mixture of well-rotted manure and mushroom compost. This should help a lot with moisture in the soil and encouraging the roots to grow. Plants are just like Goldilocks, I guess – they like their beds not too wet or too dry, not too hard or too soft. The ideal soil is not only fertile but also friable, with a fluffy texture affording good aeration and drainage. Anyway, I’ll have to work this material in around existing plants which I hate doing. The whole reason I didn’t do it last spring. But the beds need a good helping of compost and I’ll be happy with it in the end.

Number one on my list for this week is clean up and prune. Due to the very high winds and lots of freezing rain we had over winter I’ll need to prune back some shrubs with damage. My kyushu hydrangea has a few broken branches and the limelight just needs tidying up. The bulbs which have surfaced [I found three crocus bulbs just sitting on top of the soil] will probably have to be tossed, and clean up the debris brought over from those winds.

limelight hydrangea needing a bit of pruning.

Number two is applying corn gluten. We had an awful time last year with crabgrass. We bought 100% corn gluten at a hardware store recently that will hopefully combat this problem. It says the key is to apply it early spring before the weed seeds germinate, but have to wait six weeks before we can reseed our lawn.

Number three is to reseed our lawn. We filled in a large hole where a swimming pool used to be late last summer, but really, we need to reseed our whole backyard. It was in rough shape when we moved in, but now with the dog digging holes and such it is a disaster. It didn’t help that last summer was a scorcher and burnt the lawn to a crisp. We are hoping top-dressing, reseeding and fertilizing will help the overall appearance this year.

Number four for me is hardening off seedlings. I have only just started seeds, but by May I should be able to help toughen them up by being outside full time. Exposing them incremently like in part shade and then in the sun only for a few hours at a time. Then outdoors all day and indoors at night… and so on.

Number five will be to PLANT!!! It’s usually safe to plant mid-May here and I have some ideas of what I want to do. Like adding in a few roses !


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