Post by Contributing Writer, Holly
Spring is less than three weeks away! Are you ready? I think we’re ALL emotionally ready, but are we prepared for our spring projects?
I find great satisfaction in thoroughly planning a project – the kind of satisfaction that comes from a job planned wisely, with avoidable mistakes kept to a minimum. I find it very gratifying, almost as gratifying as accomplishing the project.
However, there are also times when I just want to GET STARTED. I want to get my hands in the dirt NOW, and leave the thinking and planning for another day. To accommodate such impulsiveness, without it being foolishness, it’s best to prepare as much as possible now. A little planning is always needed, but this will allow for some degree of impulsiveness.
I’ve compiled a list of links, where individuals have already done all the hard work for you. Be sure to bookmark the ones you find especially helpful. Don’t forget to sign up on their Facebook fan page, or subscribe to free email updates.
Know your frost-free date. This date is dependent on the area you live in.
Know your plant hardiness zone. This is especially important for flower gardening. If you’re a relatively new gardener, not understanding this concept is a sure way to get disappointed, come spring.
Know which tools you’ll need for your projects, and have them ready. You wouldn’t start a craft with your kids or Sunday school class, without having all the required supplies and tools. The same should be true for your outdoor projects. The last thing you want is to get halfway into a project, and realize you have to clean up, and go for a drive into town for a [fill in the blank].
Purchase your vegetable seeds as early as possible. Seeds can be purchased at your local home and garden store, online, or maybe by saving seeds from fruits and vegetables. Below are a few online sources for seeds.
Mountain Rose Herbs – a great place to find organic herbal products & medicinal/herbal seeds
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
Territorial Seed Company
Your Gardening Friend will have a vegetable seeds giveaway in a couple weeks!
Make, gather, or purchase organic fertilizers. I’ve never tried Michele’s homemade fertilizer, made from nettles, but it sounds easy and inexpensive.
If you don’t have any farm animals creating organic fertilizer for you, look for a neighbor who does. I’m sure they would be happy to share their abundance of animal poo. This is something you should do early though. The manure needs to age so that it won’t “burn” your plants.
Mulch, as it decomposes, becomes a great source of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These are the same active ingredients you’ll find in store bought fertilizers. You might be surprised at the number of benefits mulch provides.
Rake or blow neglected leaves from the fall. Layers of wet, clumped up leaves are unsightly in a yard, and hinder the lawn from getting all the photosynthesis needed. (The leaves can be composted for future use.)
Be ready for the arrival of hummingbirds. As soon as the weather warms up a bit, hummingbirds will migrate from the South. I had hummingbirds in my Indiana yard late April of last year. If you’ve never encouraged hummingbirds into your yard, you’re really missing an opportunity to observe and enjoy a truly fascinating creature. Here’s an easy way to make your own hummingbird food.
Make or purchase a bat house. Yep, you read it right – bats. You might be surprised at the benefits (and enjoyment) you’ll receive from a colony of bats.
I first became fascinated with bats in the summer of 2010, at a cookout, at the house of one of John’s co-workers. It was a really neat experience to see them up close and personal. Believe it or not, some bats are actually cute. Brown bats are, I admit, a little homely, but fruit bats are adorable! Their faces look like something between a puppy and a bear cub. (If you don’t believe me, click here to see a one-minute You Tube video.) Bats are great for gardens and backyards.
There’s a lot that can be included on a warm weather readiness checklist, so I stuck to spring. A summer list is for another day.
What things do you do to prepare for the long-awaited spring?
Holly is a wife to her loving husband, John, and a “mother” of 3 canine “children.” She loves sharing her faith, gardening, and fascination and appreciation of animals (birds, bats, butterflies, and the cute furry ones too) over at Your Gardening Friend.