Even though the sun has been a frequent visitor to the Clark County sky and temperatures have been pushing towards 60 degrees, it’s still winter according to the calendar. So while the spring-like weather may tempt you to get a jump on your landscaping, it’s wise to wait another few weeks.
According to the aforementioned calendar, Spring doesn’t start until March 20. That means there is still time for the occasional bout of cold, morning frost, or even late-season icy conditions. But, if your green thumb is twitching, there are some things you can do to prepare.
If you didn’t rake up all of your leaves in the Fall (no way!), do it now. Even if you did, the winter can take its toll on the landscaping with broken limbs, leaves from your neighbors’ yard (never!), or other debris brought in from the wind littering your yard. Cleaning up now will save you time in the Spring. Leaves are a lot easier to rake when they’re dry!
Now is an ideal time to inspect your trees as well. With no leaves in the way, you can see if any branches were damaged during the winter that need to be pruned. With evergreen trees, you might need to take a closer look, but any damaged limbs need to be trimmed off as soon as possible. If the damage is too high up, or in a precarious area, it’s best to call a professional. They will have the tools to do the job correctly and, more importantly, safely.
This is also a good time to test all of your yard maintenance machines. After sitting for six months, lawnmowers may need to be serviced. Test any gas-powered blowers, trimmers, and weed-wackers as well. If they need to be taken into the repair shop, do it now before the rush. It’s not a bad idea to have the mower blades sharpened too.
Other maintenance measures include edging around the lawn, laying down new mulch, inspecting gutters and roof shingles from the ground, and taking care of any other issues you notice. Taking care of these items today will let you concentrate on planning your yard tomorrow.
Finally, if you’ve always wanted a compost pile, consider adding one now. There are several ways of doing this, from just a pile of yard debris in an out of the way corner, to various compost bins you can build or buy. You’ll have a place to put leaves, grass clippings, dead plants, and even kitchen scraps while producing high-quality compost to use around the yard.
Home & Garden Events and Local Nurseries
This time of year, especially if it’s still cold and rainy, it’s fun to check out the Home & Garden Show (Feb. 22-25, Portland Expo Center) and Home & Garden Idea Fair (April 27-29, Clark County Event Center) for ideas. Get quotes on any additions or work you’d like to have done or begin planning that DIY project you’ve been putting off. Make lists of materials you’ll need, talk to the experts, and get an idea of what your project will cost.
You can also plan your visits to local nurseries and ask about plants, shrubs, trees, or grasses that work best for your location:
Bird’s English Garden and Nursery, Ridgefield
Hidden Gardens, Camas
Shorty’s Garden Center, Vancouver
Tsugawa Nursery, Woodland
Yard ‘n Garden Land, Vancouver
Farmer’s Markets are another great way to get information on plants that would work in your garden (or to get a batch of fresh produce). The Vancouver Farmer’s Market will open March 17th by Esther Short Park in Downtown Vancouver, the Camas Farmer’s Market kicks off June 6 in Downtown Camas, the Battle Ground Farmer’s Market opens April 24, and the Ridgefield Market opens May 12 in Overland Park.
Now is not the time to be planting bulbs or reseeding the lawn, because there are still chances for freezing temperatures or a frost or two. But if you lay the groundwork now, you and your green thumb will be ready to go when Spring officially arrives.