Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring Rains

If you're like me, gardening in the rain is not exactly a great deal of fun. So, what to do in this extended rainy period? Here are five productive things to do.
1. Weed. Yeah, I know, everybody's favorite thing to do but even a bit of weeding is very satisfying. And the more you keep up with it the less it can become a major effort.
2. Plant spring annuals. It's not all that much work to fill in some empty spaces with some of your favorite annuals. I've recently added ranunculus and anemones for bright bulb color; gilia capitata and baby blue eyes for lovely blue color; clarkia amoena for tons of salmony pink flowers and several breadseed poppies. They can go in the ground or you can make use of that favorite new pot of yours.
3. Top dress your beds. For those of us who are primarily flower gardeners and who thus can't start over with a planting bed, we can still top dress with soil amendments. That could be compost from your compost pile or a good organic amendment from your local nursery. Also, now is a good time to renew bark mulches that have scattered during the winter. Mulching reduces weeds and means less watering, not to mention that they can "dress up" certain beds.
4. Clean up and organize your potted plants. Pots are often overlooked but they too need maintenance. Pull out weeds that have gotten a toe-hold; decide whether certain plants need replacing and reacquaint yourself with neglected pots (what new treasure can I put in this pot?)
5. Enjoy the birds in your garden! Now is a great time for birding and you'll soon be seeing seldom seen birds returning to your garden. Clean out your feeder(s) and give them yummy, nutritious mixes. Make sure they have a source for clean water. Don't forget about ground feeding birds. Throw out some sunflower seeds or dried bread crumbs for these guys. If you don't yet have a hummingbird feeder, consider hanging one.

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