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Spring Gardening

Spring is a time for new beginnings in the garden as well as reviving the old. It is amazing to see how the struggling and dying plants can also get a new life as spring arrives. Spending some time gardening in the spring can make a big difference in the life of your garden for rest of the year. It is the time to transplant and divide the overgrown plants, replenish the soil, sow new seeds and plant new plants in the ground and containers.

Garden cleaning - Tidy up but leave the leaves

Getting rid of all the dried leaves and twigs is not a good idea. These can be the hiding or nesting places for small critters and insects and are essential for the garden life.
Some ideas for tidy gardens:

1. Declutter - it is the same principle as for indoors. Too many items such as furniture, garden art, planters, bird baths and other accessories can create clutter. What is too many - any number that you find difficult to maintain on a routine basis.

2. Have a convenient place for small, daily use tools such as gloves, trowel, pruner, watering can. Always put these away in their place at the end of the task even if you think you'll need them again in a couple of hours.

3. Any large items brought out for gardening task to be put away before the end of the day. For example compost bags, hose, larger tools, wheel barrow etc.

4. Cleaning the paths and walkways. Do not throw away the dried plant material. Dried plant material spilling over to the paths could be simply be moved back in the planting area. If there is large amount of plant material then consider composting.
Create edging around planting area - helps to keep plant material in that area

Replenish soil

Adding organic matter to the soil is the best way to replenish soil specially in areas where there is high plant turnover such as in the vegetable garden.

If you use compost, no need to till it in the soil. Simply put a layer on top of the soil.

Add compost to vegetable beds.

Add compost to fruit trees in an area as wide as the canopy of the tree.

Chihuahuan desert and other dry land native plants may not require large amount of organic matter. Simply keeping the fallen leaf litter as mulch on the ground may be adequate.

Sow seeds

For someone who has never sown seeds, starting only with 5-10 will seem less daunting. Larger seedlings are easy to maintain even though not necessarily quick to germinate. Sow seeds in any small container with drainage at the bottom. Container could be any used one such as a yogurt cup with a small hole cut out at the bottom.
Add potting mix and put one seed per container. Water gently by hand to avoid disturbing the seed or newly germinated seedling. It is important that the soil doesn't get dry but equally important, it should not stay waterlogged otherwise it will rot.

If you are comfortable starting plants from seeds and want to expand, try using soil blocks.

Rejuvinating and dividing existing plants

Container plants and some in-ground plants can be divided to have more of the same. Roots can get crowded in container. There are two options for this issue The plant can be divided into into 2-3 portions and house them in separate containers with fresh potting mix+/- compost. Other option is to simply prune the roots and add fresh potting mix + compost.

Spring is also the perfect time to start plants from cuttings.