Spring prep, gardening on the radio and—a giveaway

Spring prep, gardening on the radio and—a giveaway

I love bulbs, but these are still my favorite spring flower.

When I was asked by our local NPR station to do a series on Buffalo gardens and gardening, of course I was happy to help out (i.e., this is a nonpaying gig, like so many I have). My first segment will be on early garden prep, which is still happening here in the Northeast, and perhaps a lot of the upper Midwest as well. I know many of you are way past us.

Of course, the thing is that I don’t do much spring prep. My goal with gardening—in case you haven’t figured this out by now—is to do as little work as possible. Also, I hate to disturb the beds in the early spring. Bulbs are emerging and it’s easy to crush lily buds and mangle tulips and daffodils. I’d rather enjoy my spring flowers than ruin them. And there is soil compaction to consider. But there are a few unavoidable tasks, particularly as I am not big on fall cleanup, either. So I have to finally remove old stalks, surviving dead foliage, and remaining dead leaves. I add some organic amendments for the roses, prune them lightly,  and maybe compost elsewhere. I get as much mileage out of pansies and violas as I can, planting them in containers in early April, with or without bulbs. That is pretty much it until it’s time for serious planting in mid-to-late May. After that,  the season is well underway.

My first radio interviewees are Mike and Kathy Shadrack, Timber Press authors and gardeners known for their hosta expertise and their beautiful terraced gardens above a creek, south of Buffalo. Some of you have visited them. It will be interesting to see and hear what their late April activities might be, as their semirural terroir is very different than mine.

And here’s the giveaway. No doubt you’re doing some kind of pruning or lopping right now, regardless of where you are in your gardening season. Fiskars wants to give away some products from their PowerGear2 series of pruners, loppers and shears. (The company refers to these as “tree and shrub cutting machines.”) You can choose which of these you want. Just tell us in comments about your favorite or most-hated spring prep activity. There will be 5 winners, chosen tomorrow (Wednesday) at 10 a.m. EST.

Posted by

Elizabeth Licata
on April 28, 2015 at 7:52 am, in the category Bestgardensales Airwaves, Shut Up and Dig.


    • gail eichelberger
    • 15th July 2016

    My most hated spring cleanup is cleaning up after the oak trees have dropped their tassels! Gutters and downspouts get clogged! After that is removing the bush honeysuckles that spring up every where in the Spring!

    • Kathy from Cold Climate Gardening
    • 22nd November 2016

    I don’t know if I hate doing this, but I hate having to do it: cleaning invasive shrubs out of our woods. This overlaps with Gail’s comment, as one of them is Tartarian honeysuckle. The other one is Rosa multiflora. I never get them all, mind you. I just go after the ones bothering me the most, until other chores clamor for my attention.

    • Susan Coe
    • 29th November 2016

    My least favorite task is pulling spring onions and violets from the flower and vegetable beds. It doesn’t seem to matter that I’ve been doing this consistently for 11 years, there are always more

    • admin
    • 7th December 2016

    Since I garden year round, some of the more typical spring prep tasks happen whenever I can get to them. My most hated is the danged oak leaves & tassels that fall in early spring: not only does the pollen make me miserable but the leaves have to be dealt with for weeks on end. Shoot, I’m still raking, blowing & vacuuming them out of some areas.

    • ChristyMN
    • 14th December 2016

    I don’t have a “most hated” spring task. I’m just happy to be back outside in the gardens!

    • Cynthia
    • 16th December 2016

    Mostly I am just happy to be out in the garden again. That said, there are the dried stalks of last year’s flowers to trim and pitiable attempts to clear out clumps of lesser celadon. And leftover leaves to clear from various hidden corners.

    • Terressa Ferguson Zook
    • 17th December 2016

    My favorite prep is working & sweetening up the soil. The healthier the soil, the better the plants. Thank you for the chance to win such a wonderful product.

    • Erin Ellis
    • 17th December 2016

    I really dislike cleaning up the rose bushes after winter. There are so many, and they are way too tall. Thank you for the wonderful giveaway.
    ErinLoves2Run at gmail dot com

    • Fred Karp
    • 17th December 2016

    I got ahead (briefly) for once and dug out a patch of grass and weeds that I’ll now cover over with mulch. In that small area I beat the dandelion blossoms.

    • Elizabeth
    • 17th December 2016

    I love cleaning up the fall stuff I didn’t do last fall, but all the new weeds sprouting up? I hate dealing with them…

    • anonymouse
    • 17th December 2016

    My most hated spring prep chore is cleaning out the ultra-shallow pond. The way I built it makes cleaning it out totally impractical without removing all the river stones and – get this – individually scrubbing them. Seriously. I actually haven’t done it yet this spring because it sucked so much last year. I might just pitch the stones and paint the copper liner (heresy!) or just dye the water with pond dye….

    • Judy Johnson
    • 18th December 2016

    Cleaning out my hedge surroundings property of all old leaves and all the junk that has blown in it and got stuck

    • Ann
    • 18th December 2016

    My most hated task — raking and cleaning up the leaves that didn’t get tended to last fall — becomes one of my favorite things …. after I’ve finished and the garden looks so much better.

    • Tom
    • 18th December 2016

    This spring, the most dread chore was pruning back/cleaning up rose bushes. Wow there were a lot of thorns!

    • Chris - PEC
    • 19th December 2016

    Cutting back and piling up the never ending buckthorn that grows around the edges of the field – then again, I do enjoy burning the piles!!

    • Paula
    • 19th December 2016

    I have to say that I love pruning. There’s just something satisfying about looking at an overgrown or storm-damaged shrub and focusing on how to bring it back to its best. When the plant responds well and I see lush spring growth, its magical.

    • Iain
    • 19th December 2016

    after I prune the dead branches off all the roses to stimulate new growth given so much die back after last winter. I scrub the base of the roses with wire wool just above the graft. This kick starts new branches to replace the dead however you you get punctured frequently no matter how careful you are.

    • Vicki
    • 19th December 2016

    I love EVERYTHING about spring!! I have so many varieties of plants in my yard & I’ve become the envy of my neighborhood though I’m not done yet!! I had 18 yards of bank sand delivered & spread most of it over my yard to help the centipede grass to grow!! My biggest challenge has been pulling up all of the weeds that have grown over the winter. I use a new reel mower by choice & it’s almost time to get it out & begin using it!! Being single, working alone in my yard gives me the exercise I need!! I’m always looking for new ways to improve my yard’s beauty!!

    • Barbara H
    • 19th December 2016

    Actually my favorite job is cleaning up and pruning–rose bushes and dwarf citrus trees.

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