Spring is here and, when you’re not dodging Colorado’s inevitable spring snowflakes, it’s time to get outside and start preparing your lawn and garden for the summer months.
Whether you’re planning to grow bountiful vegetables and herbs, a stunning rainbow flower garden or just keep it simple with your existing landscaping, now is the best time to start gearing up for summer.
Here’s how to get started.
Take A Waterwise Class
If you’re interested in Colorado gardening but not really sure where to begin, consider enrolling in one of Resource Central’s many waterwise classes. The courses, which are being held as virtual webinars, cover everything from vegetable gardening to low-water landscaping to saving seeds. No matter which course you choose to enroll in, you’ll walk away armed with knowledge about how to conserve water and be a more sustainable gardener and landscaper in Colorado. The classes are free and include question-and-answer breaks with local landscape professionals.
“Each spring, Resource Central partners with Colorado water utilities to offer more than a dozen Waterwise Landscape Webinars,” according to Resource Central. “These webinars are focused on practical household water-saving tips and techniques, such as xeriscaping and sustainable landscaping. So, from the budding gardener to the seasoned pro, these expert-led seminars offer practical solutions to make your yard more water-efficient and beautiful.”
Test Your Soil
Especially if you’re planning to grow vegetables and herbs, it’s a good idea to send off a sample of your soil to Colorado State University for testing. The university’s special Soil, Water and Plant Testing Laboratory will analyze your sample, then provide suggestions for how best to fertilize your soil to improve crop growth. The testing starts at $35, but can help you make a much more informed decision about what types of fertilizers and amendments (and how much!) are best for optimal growth in your garden.
Yes, now is the time to start pulling weeds. And yes, unfortunately, they’re already popping up in lawns and sidewalk cracks across the Front Range. If you’re trying to cut down on your use of glyphosate (Roundup), then there’s really no substitute for manually pulling out weeds, preferably by their roots. It’s best to start early before weeds get out of control — and make sure you keep revisiting particularly weedy areas of your yard on a regular basis. This will help you stay on top of your weed problem.
After you’re done pulling weeds, till the soil to prepare for upcoming planting.
Make a Garden Plan
If you haven’t already, start considering which vegetables and herbs you want to plant this year. Then begin sketching out a layout for your garden boxes or your garden area. If you want to get a jumpstart on the growing season, start growing seedlings indoors (just be sure to do some research on the timing of planting indoors).
Spiff Up Your Tools
When was the last time you opened the door of your shed? If you’re like most people, it was probably last fall. Go ahead and crack your shed door open, then re-familiarize yourself with the various tool and equipment you have. Now is a good time to declutter, donating anything you don’t need. But it’s also the perfect time to make sure all of your gear is in good, working order so that when you actually need it come summer, you won’t find yourself in a bind. Check your lawnmower, your manual gardening tools, your hoses and hose reels, your weed whacker and any other lawn and garden gear to see if they need any repairs.
And while you’re decluttering and cleaning, consider donating any seed packets you find from last year to Longmont’s Free Seed Library, a unique initiative that aims to reduce waste and encourage more local gardening — it’s a win-win for everyone involved. You can also pick up to six free seed packets yourself.
“Gardening doesn’t have to be expensive,” according to the Free Seed Library. “Now is your chance to (re)discover the joys of digging in the dirt and growing your own food.”
Want to build a new raised garden bed, or redesign a stone walkway through your yard? Now is the time to start planning for — and even tackling — some of these infrastructure-related projects. Get started now so that by the time summer rolls around, you can enjoy your lawn and garden in its fullest, best form.
Also consider checking out the used and recycled landscaping sections at places like Habitat for Humanity Restore and Resource Central, which also has a handy and affordable tool library if you realize you need a certain tool for the job.
Head to the Farmers Market
If you’ve got questions about growing vegetables and herbs, who better to answer them than our local farmers? These professional experts make an appearance every Wednesday and Saturday at the various Boulder County Farmers Markets. Don’t be shy — go ahead and ask them your most pressing gardening questions. They may not be able to answer every single one, but they might be able to point you in the right direction or offer useful pointers.
Also, if you’re looking for vegetable starts, many vendors at the markets are selling those right now too, in addition to fruits, vegetables, prepared foods and more. The markets are held in Boulder on Saturdays and Wednesdays, in Longmont on Saturdays and (soon) in Denver on Saturdays. The Lafayette Thursday market is still TBD, but all of the locations are offering curbside pickup year-round.