Mulch conserves water, cools plant roots, feeds the soil, and helps keep weeds down.

Spring has officially sprung! The gardening season has finally begun.
I know we’ve all been looking forward to warmer weather, so here’s hoping our April isn’t full of too many showers.
Did you know April is National Garden Month?
Cleaning & Prepping
In the previous issue, we mentioned planning. If you haven’t already, it’s time to figure out what you’d like your garden to look like this spring.
In the case that you’ve already planned for spring,I would highly recommend planning for fall and winter as well. It may sound like a lot, but it will save you time and energy later in the year — especially during the summer.
If you haven’t cleaned up your beds, it’s time.
Take a sunny day and get your beds ready for new plants!
Try to refrain from using your garden cleanup as compost. It may seem logical, but if you’re using what is old or dead from last year — it may be harboring diseases or insect eggs.
And you don’t need diseases or insects transferring to new plants that you’ve spent money on.
Don’t have traditional garden space? No need to be discouraged.
You can absolutely grow vegetables and flowers in containers.
The containers can be set on a deck, balcony, or porch — as long as the veggies receive a minimum of six to eight hours of direct sunlight per day.
Flowers’ sunlight needs will depend on what you’re buying, so consider where you might be able to place them — depending on whether they need less or more light. Although you may feel limited by your space, if you get creative you can absolutely still find a way to garden.
You can find different sized plastic and ceramic planting containers in our Greenhouse and outside at Robin’s Nest.
After your cleanup, while the topsoil is still damp, be thorough with removing weeds. Add any soil amendments such as fertilizer, weed preventative, organic matter, or adjusting the pH before you begin mulching.
This is imperative. Once the mulch is on top, your soil amendments won’t be washed away in the rain. Mulch conserves water, cools plant roots, feeds the soil, and helps keep weeds down. Once everything is mulched, make sure to clean up the edges for a nice finishing touch.
You may feel tempted to cut back the foliage of your daffodils — I’m here to say don’t listen to those temptations.
The bulb utilizes the leaves to transform energy from the sun in order to help develop next year’s blossoms. I recommend leaving the foliage until it has completely turned yellow.
Don’t forget, if you need to replace any old garden tools, you can find everything you need in our Barn at the Nest.
Planting & Moving
If you have plans to move or divide your bulbs, the prime time to do so is after the foliage has died.
Make sure they’re moved by September so they have adequate time to root out before the winter.
Wanting bigger bulb blooms next year? Again, after your spring flowering bulbs have finished blooming, we suggest using Espoma’s Bulb Tone (at a rate of 4-6 pounds every 100 square feet) to fertilize them. This will encourage more blooms, and bigger ones.
Some perennials love to spread, so if yours are, try dividing them up as their spring growth begins. Hostas, hellebores, sedums and ice plants are great examples. It’s necessary to divide them up to ensure they don’t take over one area or look too messy.
Not only will this increase your number of plants, but it will increase the happiness of the plants, as well. When digging up your plant, be very careful not to break any roots to ensure your plants stay healthy.
Bio-tone and organic matter Leafgro are excellent assets to have when moving and replanting. When you mix Bio-tone into the soil before replanting, it helps prevent transplant shock and will help the roots become more robust. You can find Leafgro and Espoma’s Organic Bio-tone in our barn at Robin’s Nest.
Consider planting a pollinator garden. Different butterflies emerge at different times, and they all need fuel to fly. Native plants such as purple coneflower, goldenrods and aster would provide a great amount of nutrition.
If you’re looking to attract a specific type of butterfly, look into what host plant is best for that type of butterfly. Milkweed is a Monarch favorite, while plants like dill and parsley are great hosts for Black Swallowtails.
Understand that if you’re planting with the intentions of hosting butterflies, your plants will get munched on quite a bit — but that is what they’re for.
Additionally, it’s difficult for butterflies to get water out of birdbaths, so consider adding a couple of rocks to the birdbath for them to be able to land on.
Emerging Animals
and Potential Pests
Other wildlife you might begin to see this time of year include Eastern Box Turtles, and various snake species emerging out of hibernation. Snakes may seem scary, but it’s truly best to leave them alone as you would with turtles.
Ticks will become active when the temperature is above freezing, so when you’re gardening be mindful and try to use repellants, wear lightly colored clothing, and get in the habit of checking yourself.
The lightly colored clothing will make spotting them much easier if they happen to get on you. Deer ticks (also known as black-legged ticks) in particular are the culprit of spreading Lyme’s Disease.
Ants are likely to be seen wandering in and around your home this time of year.
Depending on the species, they may nest in wood piles, between rocks, in tree stumps, or even fallen trees outside. Inside the home they could nest behind large appliances, behind walls, under floors, and around pipes. Make sure you’re regularly wiping down countertops and storing food properly.
To get rid of them, ant spray or traps should help quell the issue. Shop Ant Killer granules in our barn at Robin’s Nest — by creating a barrier around your home, it will kill them before they get inside.
And finally, you may begin experiencing pest issues with your houseplants.
Let your potting medium dry almost completely before watering again – this should help prevent fungus gnats.
If you’re having issues with other houseplant pests, come get some Insecticidal Soap or Neem Oil from our Greenhouse.
If you ever have any questions about plant pests, Robin’s Nest is always here to help.
Happy Spring, and happy gardening! Don’t forget Robin’s Nest is here for all your gardening needs, so come by and see us.
(Editor’s Note: Ken Morgan is the owner of Robin’s Nest Floral and Garden Center in Easton, Md.)