From Antivist

As spring approaches you can take a few key steps to ensure your home serves you well through the coming months. Please take time to check these items in and around your home and attend to any that need maintenance.

  • "In the spring you had to be organized and know what piece of ground you were going to put oats on or what piece of ground you was going to put your wheat on or corn on and what piece of ground that you were going to go to alfalfa with then."


March is a guessing game in the garden. Will it warm up soon? Will it stay warm? Will the rains start/stop? About the only thing we can count on is that March too shall pass. So go ahead and push the envelope, but keep the row covers handy.

Everyone should have their seeds started, their trees and shrubs pruned and their tools ready to go. After that, the most important thing is to have patience. It’s tempting to take advantage of warm days, but even in Zones 9 & 10, spring gets the last word in the garden.

Here are regional gardening tips to take with a spoonful of judgement.

  • Start feeding houseplants again. Repot, if necessary.
  • Avoid walking on wet soil in the garden
  • Get your soil tested
  • Start seeds of warm season vegetables and flowers indoors
  • Force some spring blooming trees and shrubs like forsythia, pussy willow, quince and carb apples.
  • Keep tabs on plant crowns that may have heaved out of the ground during a thaw
  • Begin removing mulch at the end of the month, as temperatures increase


If April means spring to you, get out your garden tools and get moving. As always, we’re slaves to the whims of nature. It always seems spring drags its heels and then runs full force into summer. Be prepared with an organized ‘To Do’ list and take advantage of whatever nice days we are afforded. Our plants will still need pruning, feeding and weeding even if the sun doesn’t always shine.

  • Keep ahead of the weeds.
  • Turn the compost.
  • Sharpen Tools
  • Test and amend your soil
  • Prune flowering shrubs when they finish blooming.
  • Plant and divide perennials
  • Start seeds of warm-season vegetables and flowers.
  • Direct seed cool season vegetables and flowers when the ground is able to be worked.
  • Begin hardening off cool season seedlings, to transplant at the end of the month.
  • Begin dividing perennials.


May is a frantic month in northern hemisphere gardens. Warm climates change rapidly to hot climates. Colder gardens suddenly appear out of nowhere and demand attention. You may not need a list of what to do in the garden in May, because it is staring you in the face every time you walk through your garden. But here are some reminders of what you can do. Don’t panic. The season is just beginning.

  • Treat yourself to at least 1 great new plant before the best selection is gone
  • Water regularly, if it doesn’t rain
  • Water newly planted plants even if rain is predicted


  • Deadhead spring blooming bulbs, but let the foliage grow until it yellows
  • Deadhead and begin replacing pansies and primroses as the blossoms fade
  • Give everything a good feeding, to get things growing
  • Divide crowded perennials and share
  • Make sure tall perennials are staked
  • Finish seeding annuals
  • Resist the temptation to put out heat lovers until the end of the month, when night time temps remain above 50 degrees F.
  • Summer bulbs can be planted
  • Plant new roses. Prune one-time blooming roses as they faded and feed.
  • Give fall bloomers like asters and mums, a first pinching


  • Keep the perennial vegetables and berries weeded
  • Move rosemary plants outdoors, if they don’t live there year round
  • Keep harvesting cool season crops like asparagus, peas, and spring lettuce
  • If you’re not picking asparagus, get some planted for next year
  • Seed cool season vegetables and root crops after mid-month (beets, beans, cabbage, carrots, chard, lettuce, onions, potatoes, radishes, turnips...)
  • Set out transplants of cole crops after hardening off
  • Start warm season melons and squash indoors, to transplant after Memorial Day, when the squash borer has moved on
  • Keep seeding lettuce.
  • Start seeding squash, cucs and beans
  • Hold the heat lovers like tomatoes and peppers until the end of the month


  • Repot houseplants in new soil

Trees & Shrubs

  • Check out the azaleas in bloom for future purchases.
  • Plant or transplant trees and shrubs before the heat of summer.
  • Prune forsythia, viburnums and other spring blooming shrubs, before they set next year’s buds.
  • Cut older branches back to ground level to encourage new flowering branches.
  • Prune Clematis montana hybrids after blooming to control size and shape.


  • Clean bird feeders
  • Turn the compost


  • Keep a watch out for asparagus beetles, aphids, cabbage worms, cutworms, scale, slugs & snails and any signs of fungal diseases (leaf spot, mildew, rust...)
  • Rip out invasives while the soil and damp, before they spread even further
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