Let's face it – it's been a long winter, but brighter and warmer days are upon us. If you're the type of person who likes to be prepared, it isn't too early to gear up for lawn and garden season. Here are some tips to help you hit the ground running this spring:
Test the content of your soil with a kit. Soil test kits are designed to determine levels of PH, nitrogen, potassium, phosphorous, and other micro/macronutrients in your soil. An accurate test will tell you how to amend your soil for optimum growing.
Disinfect any tools that will touch vegetation to prevent the spread of bacteria, fungi, and soil pathogens. Soak lawnmower blades, shovels, trowels, rakes, and pruners for 30 minutes in a solution of 10% bleach and 90% water.
Tune up your lawnmower. If you didn't already do it in the fall, drain your lawnmower of old fuel. Add fresh fuel, replace the spark plugs, clean/replace the air filter, change the oil, and sharpen the blades.
Don't ignore the supporting cast. Service your leaf blower and trimmer according to the manufacturer's guidelines. Stock up on trimmer line.
Hand tools need love too. Sharpen the edges on your pruners, clippers, and digging tools. Lubricate any hand tools that have moving metal parts, then lightly coat the metal with mineral oil to prevent rust. Sand any rough patches on wooden handles. Use linseed oil to seal the wood and prevent shrinking.
Check fittings and filters on irrigation systems. Check the rubber washers on your hoses, sprinklers, and nozzles for cracking and replace if necessary.
Clean pots and planters to remove mold, fungi, and tiny pests. Use a brush and mild soap to clean, then rinse and let dry.
Inspect lawn furniture. Check wood parts for splintering, pests, rot, and other damage. Sand and repaint/restain these parts if necessary. Inspect cushions and covers and wash if possible.
Maintain fencing, gates, and other wood features. Replace warped or rotting pieces and repaint/restain where needed.
Some of these tasks may seem over the top, but knocking them out now while the weather is still less-than-ideal will give you more time to relax during the warmer days ahead.