Friday, April 17, 2009

18 Ways to Get your New England Yard Ready for Spring

DAY 21 OF MY EARTH HOUR TO EARTH DAY CHALLENGE: An Easy Guide to Preparing Your Yard for a New England Spring

•Wash the outside of your windows now, when it's cooler. As it gets warmer, it gets harder to clean windows without streaking.
•Start planting some seeds inside. Start with your fresh herbs, tomatoes, peppers, squash, and cucumbers as they have a long growing season. Use The Heart of New England for ideas and help.
•Clean the decks and porches to remove mildew, mold and general grime. Green Living has a great article for green cleaning your deck. Try to avoid those caustic deck cleaners. Even a pressure washer with plain water will work wonders. (Be very careful not to damage your wood, however.)
•Take out all of your lawn/deck furniture and get it clean. There are a few different organic cleaners for patio furniture, but NZymSys seems to have a full line at a reasonable price.
•Get your grill out and get it cleaned up. Colby was ecstatic this year when he bought new tools to clean the grill and... wait for it... they actually did clean the grill. So, get your new cleaning tools now so you are prepared for all the soot & grime to come.
•Bring your hose out of storage. Check for cracks and leaks so when it is time for sprinkler fun, your kids aren't left with a trickle.
•Rake back the mulch now for a couple of weeks, so that the ground can warm. If the mulch is in good shape, you can reuse it. If it is not in good shape, remove it and replace it with new mulch around the end of April. Putting down a good layer of mulch could save you hours of labor. It will reduce evaporation, maintain even soil temperature, prevent erosion, control weeds and enrich the soil.
•Clear all drainage ditches and culverts of debris. Also clean out gutters and downspouts.
•Get lawn mower ready. Sharpen the blades and fill your gas can now. Nothing is worse than having a 5 inch lawn, pulling that starter and finding the gas tank empty!
•Cut back the limbs now, before the leaves start to emerge. It is easier to see which limbs might have been damaged by the ice and snow and you won't have to fight through so much brush to do your trimming.
•Get clothesline ready. It's time to stop using the dryer! See my previous post on this.

•Check for compaction of your lawn. You will see lack of grass, moss or just bare spots.
Lawn aeration is the remedy for compaction. Lawn aerators can be rented at your local rental center for about $40 for a half day. The aerator will pull up small plugs of the earth, making room for the grass roots to spread out and for any seeds or fertilizer to sink in.
•If you see thatch (the dead, straw-like stuff that is often tangled near the grass roots) you will need to rake it out before you attempt to revive your lawn. Unless you remove the thatch- any water, fertilizer or seed will just sit on the top and not be able to permeate the soil.
•Once you have de-thatched your lawn, you can add a fertilizer. Most home improvement stores and garden centers will carry a nitrogen rich organic fertilizer.
•If you need to re-seed (sometimes called overseeding), that’s the final step after any de-thatching or fertilizing that your lawn needed. Overseeding will help repair dead areas as well as keep lawn weeds at bay.

•Transplant existing plants from one spot to another now, before they get too much of their spring growth.
•Start weeding now, before they really start to take root. Getting an early start will save you effort throughout the year.
•If you didn’t do so in the fall, trim back any perennials before they start to grow. The leaves and stalks should be cut close to ground level. Try not to pull out stalks as this may damage the plant.

1 comment:

  1. You made me tired, just reading all that.

    You are amazing to do so much!!