With the early and beautiful spring we’ve been experiencing in Northeast Ohio, a lot of people are thinking about their gardens.  Lots of people are already out cleaning up the winter’s damage and pampering their early-blooming bulbs.

Spring clean-up should involve the obvious things like getting rid of all of the debris and leaves that ended up in your garden over the winter, but also pruning your shrubs and trees. It’s important to get them pruned before new growth starts and the bugs come out.

After you do your clean-up, it’s time to get your flower and vegetable beds ready to plant. If your soil is mostly clay like much of Northeast Ohio, you’re going to need to loosen it up after a wet winter. Loosen the soil to a depth of about a foot with a pitchfork or hoe (use a shovel first if it’s really bad), and then amend the top 3 inches with some good organic material.

Leaf humus or Sweet Peet both do a great job of adding more organic material to the clay-heavy soil of this area. A hoe or a roto-tiller will help you mix the organics in with your existing soil. It’s important to break up your soil thoroughly, especially if planting seedlings.

Once you’ve got your soil prepared, we recommend laying down 2 inches of mulch for proper moisture retention and weed control. Mulch can be too much of a good thing if it’s laid too thick, especially around the bases of perennials and new plantings, so take care to thin it out in those areas.

This is also a good time to start your seedlings indoors in a nice sunny spot to get them ready to plant in a few weeks. Even if you’re not growing your plants from seeds, you can start sketching out your garden and getting your plan together.

A herb garden is a simple and easy way to have fun in your garden while providing fresh flavors for your cooking all summer and into the fall. Herbs are easy to grow and start easily inside.

After a dreary winter, it’s time to get outside and prepare your gardens for a beautiful and bountiful summer.
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