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Spring Time to Prep the Garden!

2013 April 15

Greetings from New England!Each Monday we write about the New England environment and way of life seen through our local perspective. Previous posts

By Gina Snyder

The crocuses and birds have been greeting me in the mornings this month. That must mean spring is here, although the wind can still seem like the beginning of March! But the warmth of the sun and the flowers springing up remind us all that it’s time to spruce up for spring.

Even though it’s not quite warm enough to plant outside yet, there are some timely tasks you can do now to get your yard ready and help satisfy your gardening urges. The first thing to do is give your garden organics by visiting your local compost center.

Many towns have a compost center, and in my town, the compost center is open again as of the first weekend in April. There you can fill some buckets with finished compost to bring back home and enrich your gardens.
If you don’t compost in your own yard, you can also take advantage of the compost center by bringing any leftover leaves from last year and any windfalls from the winter – broken branches, downed sticks – and drop these off to be composted and mulched.

For vegetable gardens, add the new compost to the top of the existing soil without tilling it in. Annual tilling is not recommended as it disturbs the natural and beneficial work of organisms in your soil. When it is warm enough, plant your seeds and seedlings in the new topsoil and as they grow, their roots will extend into the naturally aerated existing soil.

Gina collects wood chip mulch at her local compost center

Chipped wood is also available at my compost center for mulching. When I mulch, a couple of layers of newspapers between my soil and mulch provide an added barrier to weeds while still allowing the rain to penetrate to the soil.

I have found wood chips decompose more slowly than some other mulches, and they can be quite effective in helping establish trees and native plants, especially in areas that are hot and sunny.

Good, rich organic compost and mulch make for a great combination to keep your yard and garden healthy, and help your soil retain moisture when conditions get hot and dry. Now is the time to get the garden ready and give it extra hardiness as we head into summer.

About the author: Gina Snyder works in the Office of Environmental and Compliance Assistance at EPA New England and has been a volunteer river monitor on the Ipswich River, where she also picks up trash every time she monitors the water quality.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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5 Responses leave one →
  1. Arman.- permalink
    April 15, 2013

    Gina, Wood Chip Mulch, And Red Car.-

    After coldest,then flowers is blossom, mean beginning April by Spring. It’s best rhytmic that there are not valid in here. I impress with Gina “The blossom lady” who is still work hard, that maybe not valid in my culture. Congratulations Ms. Snyder

  2. Master Melvin M. Lusterio permalink
    April 16, 2013

    The Good Force be with you!

    Happy Springtime & Happy Gardening, Gina! Keep up the good work!

    Live forever & prosper!

  3. Greenie permalink
    April 17, 2013

    People with an entrepreneurial bent of mind who are conversant with home gardening techniques, should start consulting services in “green gardening” ! This will be a big help for people who are interested in organic gardening but don’t know how to go about it

  4. Gabriela Leon permalink
    April 20, 2013

    I have a tip: COMPOST….take all of your leftovers, aside from meats and bones..you can even put your paper napkins in there and bury them in your garden soil, around your trees or in your flower beds…just dig a little hole and bury them..you will see soon enough how great it is for your flowers and trees…pure energy! and it will save you some good money in the long run! you will not need to keep on buying top soil or amend to improve your gardening soil..it does wonders!
    Egg shells, banana peel, coffee grinds, orange and lemon peels, all kinds of greens are excellent for mulching… and green!

  5. Survivor permalink
    April 21, 2013

    Thank you very much for such a great and useful article.

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