a couple in a vegetable garden
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Spring Cleaning in the Garden

It is time to do some spring-cleaning in the garden! Trim down any remaining perennial stems and leaves you left over the winter for the birds to use or left as protection for the plant crowns. Remove and compost the old winter mulch protecting perennials and bulbs from winter’s wet chill. Weed the perennial and shrub beds and top dress with compost to give them a boost. If you have not already done so, finish pruning the roses and clean up any fallen foliage that may have been infected with black spot. Put any diseased plant material in your yard waste container and not into your home compost pile.

While you are cleaning up, look for clusters of pearly white eggs in the soil or under mulched areas. Those are slug eggs. Slugs lay an average of 20-30 eggs each season, but can lay many more and may lay again partway through the season if the climate is right. If your fall planted bulbs are already starting to grow, there may be lots of baby slugs ready to chomp them down. Scoop them up and destroy them or feed them to your (or your neighbors) chickens or ducks. Slugs need dark, moist conditions to survive.  Slugs and eggs can also be found under boards, containers, fallen branches or other materials.  Get rid of debris and reduce slug habitat. Or use those wooden boards, carefully placed, as traps to catch the slowly burgeoning slug population.

Now is also a good time to plant many edible and ornamental perennials, trees and shrubs. This allows time to establish new root growth before the arrival of warmer weather and take advantage of spring rain showers. You can plant raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, rhubarb, and asparagus now.  Many fruiting trees are available now as well. Don’t forget to mulch after planting. Find great deals on bare root edible perennials at plant sales and in nurseries.