Many of us are ready to run outside and start prepping our garden. Some may have the mindset of out with the old and in with the new. However, I would encourage you to pause on cleaning away debris and getting the mower out.
Many of our pollinators are just starting to wake up. The recommendation is to hold off on cleaning up debris until there have five days above 50 degrees in a row. This would allow the bees and other pollinators to have a chance to leave the winter home they have made in the leaves and other piles you will want to clean away.
Here are some things you can do as the weather starts to warm up to be ready for the warmer days to come.
1. Clean the inside of the house.
It is time for the spring cleaning! You are going to be spending more time outside during the next few months. Get the inside clean so you do not feel torn between where you should be spending your time. Do a deep clean of the house and even rearrange furniture to give the house a fresh feel and look.
2. Prepare your tools.
Setup your tool work areas. Get the items out of storage. This may require a rotation of tools. Getting the snowblower put to the back and the mower pulled to the front. This is also a suitable time to inspect your tools. Make sure blades are sharp, handles are secured, and no winter rust set in. If you do have damaged tools, make a list of things that need to be replaced.
3. Inspect roof, siding, and foundation.
Look for cracks, lose or missing shingles, or weakening points. Take the time to make sure everything is in good condition and sealed up. As snow and ice melt the water can get into any weak or open areas, freeze, and then melt causing leaks and even holes. Staying ahead of where you may also have drainage issues will prevent your foundation from having damage while also preventing standing water that can lead to issues for your plants.
4. Put away your winter gear.
This is something we do as a family as the seasons change. Living in North America there are times where you leave in the morning and the temperatures are freezing but when you come home it is in the mid-sixties. Layers are important. We pack down our winter gear and donate what does and does not fit or throw out what will not make it through next year. Clearing this stuff out of our way saves space and time in the warm busy months.
5. Prepare for planting.
Purchase and organize all your seeds. Take this time to determine what you will be adding to your flower beds and gardens. Create a planting schedule based on the ideal time for your seeds. I recommend organizing your seeds based on your planting schedule, so you have what you need front and center when the time comes. Index cards work great for this activity. I also list on the card where I planted the seeds for future reference. For some of your seeds this is the time to start your indoor planting to then move the small plants outdoors once they have reached maturity.
6. Prepare and start collecting rainwater.
It may seem early to start this task, but the summer months can be incredibly harsh. If you live in an area where they restrict watering this could be your saving solution. By collecting rainwater during these stormy weeks to come you may be able to build up a large enough reserve to get you through the driest part of the season coming.
7. Evaluate your soil.
Before we can plant, we need to take care of our soil. There are several different gauges you can buy to check the soil. I suggest reaching out to your local nursery for their guidance on what will work the best for you. You will want to check the pH to make sure that if there are additives that will be needed. Taking the time to source the right chemicals and get them mixed in before you want to plant. This will set you up for better looking plants for the season.
I am right alongside you with wanting to run outside and start to clean things up. We need to be patient. This is a time to plan and prepare. All things coming in HIS perfect timing. And if we use this time to set ourselves up for success, we will have a better and more beautiful season.