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5 Tips for starting a spring garden

There are many things you can do to get a jump on your spring garden long before the last frost to save time and save money.

We're gettting pretty antsy....Spring is almost on us.  Before the last freeze, here’s a few tips from AARP to help you get started early on that spring garden.
We're gettting pretty antsy....Spring is almost on us. Before the last freeze, here’s a few tips from AARP to help you get started early on that spring garden.
It's that time again!

Nothing gets our garden juices flowing for the upcoming growing season like attending a plant and garden show this time of year. Check out our article on the Spring Fort Worth Home and Garden Show. They always have some great ideas on what to plant and how to save money on your spring garden activities. .

Here’s a few tips from AARP that should save time before you start:

1. Start indoors

Start a few flowers and other garden plants from seeds weeks before the weather warms so you can transplant them outside. A plant started from seed normally costs only a fraction of what you'll pay at a nursery for those in plastic containers, you will save money.

When to start a garden plant inside hinges on when the last frost normally occurs, and then counting backward according to the type of plant you want to grow. Seed packets usually contain distinct instructions for when and how, March is the month to start seedlings indoors.

2. Prepare lawn and garden equipment

Take your lawn mower to the repair shop (or DIY) to get it tuned up for the spring mowing season ahead of when you actually need it. Try to get an "early bird" discount on the tune-up by dropping it off early, around the first of March. You should save time and save money. And, clean all your garden tools.

3. Declare an early war on weeds

At the first signs of new spring growth and plants coming back to life starting to develop, you can be sure a widespread variety of weeds will be there also.

As soon as the soil is no longer frozen — usually weeks before the last frost — start cultivating the surface soil in areas prone to weed growth to make it harder for them to take root, and then mulch over those areas immediately to keep weeds at bay. Pull hard-to-kill weeds and plants like dandelions, dock weed and even poison ivy (wearing protective gloves, of course).

Weeds gain strength over a growing season, so literally “nipping them in the bud” will save time and save money by minimizing use of expensive herbicides in the months ahead. Sprinkle left over or discount-purchased rock salt on gravel and concrete driveways and paths in the spring to keep weeds from taking over.

4. Remove leaves and yard debris

Never got around to raking up all of the leaves and other yard debris last fall?

In some situations, leaves can serve as a protective mulch that can help some plants survive the harsh winter weather. But as new plant growth begins, matted leaves from last year can inhibit plant growth and promote pest problems and some plant diseases. Consider composting last year's leaves and yard debris — they're already well on their way to decomposing — or shred them to use as mulch. If you have a mulching lawn mower, simply mow over any leaves still on the lawn so that the nutrients can return to the soil.

5. Tend to your perennials

Numerous perennials — plants that linger living for many years, including most trees and shrubs — can profit from some spring care.

Since perennials can add significant value to your home, consider the TLC you give them as an investment in your future. Late winter and early spring are good times to prune many types of trees and shrubs in most regions. Generally speaking, ornamental grasses should be cut back before new growth appears in the spring, and fruit trees should be pruned and thinned before new growth develops. You can even divide some types of perennials, like Siberian iris, yarrow, asters and many hostas, in the early spring, making a whole new wheelbarrow full of plants for free! Now that's music to a cheapskate gardener's ears.

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