What to do now - Jobs in the Garden by Season

Seven gardening tasks to do before the spring thaw

Bundle up and cross these essential chores, from pruning to pest control, off your list

Ensure soil fertility

Prepare a quick-start growth stimulant for perennial plants—try a mix of equal parts blood, bone and kelp meals—and scratch 125 millilitres into the soil around each plant’s root system.

Alfalfa weed or pellets (from an animal feed company or pet shop) will also supply growth hormones and can be used with the growth stimulant described above. Apply 125 grams to small perennials, 250 grams to large perennials and 500 to 750 grams to shrubs.

Purchase seed of Dutch white clover (Trifolium repens) at a garden centre and broadcast it in lawns—about 250 grams per 100 square metres. Clover fixes nitrogen in the soil, crowds out weeds and strengthens the lawn against drought. It won’t strangle grass plants, but it will fill in where grass is patchy.

Irrigation preparation

  • Purchase soaker hoses and position them in beds and around shrubs before perennial plants and groundcovers begin growing.
  • Patch punctured rubber hoses and replace all plastic washers with non-leaking rubber ones.
  • Avoid unnecessary water evaporation by setting in-ground irrigation systems to come on in the early morning, before sunrise.

Check up on plant supports

  • Put peony rings in place before growth begins.
  • Set up stakes and netting for garden peas before planting the seeds.
  • Tighten or replace wire supports for raspberry and grape canes before buds break.


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