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Spring Is Perfect Time To Prepare The Garden

UPDATED April 3, 2013

By WeatherBug Meteorologist, Fred Allen

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Longer days and warmer temperatures are all welcome signs after a difficult winter, especially for those itching to get back into the garden. Though January and February are ideal for garden planning, gardeners alike will have to wait until all the snow and the early-year temperamental temperature swings end to get outside and build that perfect garden.

January and February are great months for planning the year`s garden. Start a new journal for ideas. Recycle holiday items such as Christmas trees to create mulch for the garden bed. Keep a clean yard, free of broken and downed branches. Organize garden accessories, including pots, soil, and seeds. Lastly and most importantly, take all necessary steps in destroying insect eggs without resorting to harmful pesticides. Here are more helpful tips when performing preventative insect maintenance in your garden.

Of course, you will need to be mindful of the last frost and freeze days as you make all this late-winter planning. This map highlights the typical latest U.S. day for sub-freezing temperatures. The impacts of frosty and sub-freezing temperatures are very harmful to sensitive vegetation, even killing them if exposed to the elements for just a few hours.

As the days grow longer, the sun rises higher, but March can be a "fickle" weather month. One day can be very warm and just right for planting a garden, the next can be a disaster. The best bet for starting that garden in March would be across the southern U.S. In contrast, residents across the northern U.S. will be best served in monitoring compost piles, dealing with more pest intrusion and bid adieu to all those weeds. Most importantly, start seeding and planting early spring vegetables and flowers.

The garden-threatening temperatures continue to retreat northward across the U.S. in April, with the risk of sub-freezing temperatures all but leaving the U.S. by June 1. This means that April, May and June are by far the busiest months for setting up a lavish garden.

In April, make sure to dig up garden beds early on. That compost pile sitting in the corner of the yard is full of nutrients, and after mixed, will improve the texture, water retention, and drainage of your soil. Though the threat of frost and freezes still looms large across the U.S., trees, shrubs, prune grapes and fruit trees can be planted. It is still a bit too early for summer vegetables, with those best stored in pots inside until May and early June.

Finally, May means spring is in full swing. The mild weather means everything except tender perennials and annuals can be planted, so break out the garden tools and yank out the weeds. Harvest additional compost and eliminate pests` impacts on shrubs and plants. In addition, those potted plants stored inside can be brought outdoors.

The culmination of five months of hard work will show in June and July. The summer warmth will mean that garden beds are almost completely planted and flourishing. The only thing left to do is cultivation, making sure that the soil is worked deeply while not injuring plants roots. All of these tips will have your garden blooming with everything from vegetables to colorful flowers - enjoy!

Our Home & Garden section offers the latest information on when to head outside and do some gardening.

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