Make springtime chores easy by dividing them

UC Master GardenerJanuary 23, 2013 

Spring wildflowers such as these California poppies and lupine will be here before you know it.

UC REGENTS

Q: How can I be more organized this year before spring arrives? — Elisabeth, Paso Robles

A: It’s never too early to prepare your garden for spring. Spring arrives on March 20. If you divide tasks into short segments of 30 minutes and have a list to work from, you will be prepared for spring’s arrival.

Before making that list, which will be specific to your garden, take a stroll through your property, pen and paper in hand. Think back to the last season: Which perennials did you mean to divide, which bulbs needed digging up? Were you satisfied with your irrigation system; is this a good time to add drip irrigation to some areas of your garden? Does your compost area need another bin, or is this the year you will designate an area to start compost ing? Are you looking to add a veggie patch or expand your existing vegetable garden with some berry bushes?

Do you have any ideas for being greener this year, maybe adding some rain barrels under your gutters?

Additional ideas for outside projects: Clean up your garden by removing any dead plant material, raking up leaves, debris and cutting back perennial grasses.

Remember to feed your soil: late winter is a good time to work in a cover of three to five inches of well-aged compost down 18 inches into your soil.

Also, freshen up perennial beds with two inches of highquality mulch such as aged pine needles or shredded wood products, which will regulate moisture and keep weeds down.

A second dormant oil spray for your fruit trees can still be applied. Inside tasks for those rainy weekends: Cleaning and sharpening your garden tools or setting up a potting area in an unused corner of your garage or patio.

Clean and lightly disinfect pots and containers you plan on using this spring. Start or update your planner for vegetable gardening. Rotating crops in your veggie patch is a necessity to reduce pests and disease. Breaking down projects into small, manageable segments will guarantee that spring will not be sprung on you too early.

GOT A GARDENING QUESTION?

Contact the University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners at 781-5939 on Mondays and Thursdays from 1 to 5 p.m. in San Luis Obispo; at 473-7190 from 10 a.m. to noon in Arroyo Grande; or at 434-4105 on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to noon in Templeton. Visit the UCCE Master Gardeners Web site at http://ucanr.org/sites/mgslo/ or email mgsanluisobispo@ucdavis.edu  .

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