The weather may be confused, but we green thumbs aren’t. Spring is here. Let’s talk herbs for your kitchen garden, mulching and three tips to get your spring planting underway.
I’ve scaled back my vegetable garden, but the peaking perennials have me excited to get my hands dirty. In lieu of a big vegetable garden, I snuggle herbs and vegetables into the flower beds or in pots. If you want a short list of must-have herbs for a kitchen garden, find them here.
To be sure your garden is properly prepared, check out 2 Weird Hungry Girls talk with Chubby Pickle Farms. We talked about container gardening and mulching, Chubby Pickle Farms keeps it simple.
To further inspire your green thumb, I connected with SugarBush Nursery. If you’re looking for native perennials, organic gardening supplies, annuals, herbs and vegetables, there is one source that is on the top of my list: SugarBush Nursery. Anne-Marie McMahon, owner, firmly believes in incorporating native plants into your landscaping. She sources local products and hosts workshops throughout the growing season. Only the best for you, dear reader.
Anne shared these 3 tips to get your spring garden started:
1. Time to Cut Back. “Many people leave their ornamental grasses standing over the winter to make sure the seed-heads are available for winter food for birds. Now’s the time to cut all of those grasses back to about 2″ high so that the new growth can emerge cleanly and the plant makes a better statement in the landscape this season.”
Now is also a great time to divide perennials that bloom in late summer or fall. Dividing perennials does set plants back a bit, and plants need time to re-establish their root systems after being divided, before they can flower well. This is why you don’t want to try to divide any spring or early-summer blooming plants right now – wait to divide those until early fall.”
2. Divide to Encourage Growth. “To divide most perennials, work a spade around the entire clump until you can lift it out of the ground. Use the spade or a pitchfork to divide the clump into two or more pieces (a 6-8″ diameter for each new plant is a good starting point). You will damage some roots in this process, but have no fear; they’ll grow back.
Replant each division in its new spot in your garden; backfill with a mixture of your native soil and finished compost, and top-dress with a 1″ layer of compost when you’re all done. Then water deeply, and watch the divisions carefully for watering needs until the plant is once again growing vigorously. Dividing can rejuvenate over-crowded perennials which no longer bloom well or have died out in the center.”
3.Start Composting. “Set up your composting system for success and ease of use throughout this season. If you compost mainly with kitchen scraps, weeds and grass clippings, you’ll need to have plenty of high-carbon “brown matter” (aka leaves or shredded newspaper) on hand to ensure your compost isn’t just a gloppy mess.
A rule of thumb is to use approximately three times as much brown matter as green matter in your compost. Add a shovelful of soil on occasion to introduce microbes and bacteria to the pile. These are what actually do the work of composting and help to break down the organic matter into gardener’s black gold (in other words, it isn’t accomplished by the gardener turning the pile). Stockpile your leaves from last fall right next to your compost pile so you can add in the right amount of brown matter as you begin to fill your pile with kitchen scraps and weeds. If you’ve gotten rid of your fall leaves already, use shredded newspaper this year and then make sure you keep your fall leaves around this year!
This winter many shrubs and trees sustained damage from our many ice storms. Now is a good time to prune back broken branches from your shrubs. Do this with sharp bypass pruners or loppers and make a clean cut right above a bud so that the branch can send out new growth from that bud. Tree pruning is generally best left to professionals, especially if it involves climbing.” – Anne-Marie McMahon
Find SugarBush Nursery at SugarBushNursery.com
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