Well, it may not seem quite like spring (I’m still wearing my winter coat) but the crocus and tulip bulbs tell a different story. There are two things that you can start doing now to help with the upcoming planting season – adding compost and weeding.
Prepare new and old planting beds and gardens by mixing in 1 to 3 inches of compost into soil. The best tool for mixing compost into an established garden is a shovel or pitchfork. For a new flower bed, a rototiller may be a better (and less arduous) choice. Compost works with any soil. It helps sandy soil hold nutrients and water, and loosens clay soils so that water drains better and roots are able to spread. It can also invigorate nutrient depleted soil since compost is nutrient rich.
When it comes to weeding, there seems to be two camps – those who find it to be a Zen-like activity and those who see it as a mind-numbing, cumbersome task. The only advice I can give is that weeding now saves a lot of work later, especially since many of the weeds (and their roots) are small and the ground is well saturated making them much easier to pull this time of year. Additionally, the weeds you see now will go to seed in late spring, so it’s best to pull them before that happens. Once weeds are pulled, make sure you remove them completely from your yard and compost them. As the saying goes, “a weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows.” Weeds are tenacious, and weeding once will not be enough, but getting the pulled plant out of your yard will definitely help.