Amending vegetable bed

Q: As a new gardener, I find early spring overwhelming! What should I do to increase my chances of a successful garden this year?

A: I approach each spring with the desire to overcome last year’s gardening challenges, lay a perfect foundation for my new gardening efforts, and try a few new plants and landscaping ideas.

Laying the perfect foundation in any project is one of the most tedious parts of any project because it is usually unseen, but I vow that this year I want to approach it with a new enthusiasm. Last fall I cleaned all of my gardening tools and put the rust-susceptible ends of tools in buckets of sand laced with oil. During the winter I looked at catalogs chocked full of seeds, new plants, landscape paraphernalia and gardening tools.

Now, it’s time to do garden variety “spring cleaning’, a.k.a., laying the perfect foundation for a new garden. I know this can be accomplished in 10 easy steps, so here we go. (more…)

Q: What can I be doing in my yard and garden in early spring?

A: Here are a few tips to get your yard ready for the growing season.

Rake up last fall’s leaves, pine needles, thatch and other debris. Make sure the grass is getting adequate moisture to avoid grass mite damage and other dry turf problems.


photo by Don Bunce, Colorado Master Gardener

Aeration plugs

Aeration is the best way to help your lawn thrive. It will reduce thatch and soil compaction, improve water and air absorption, encourage healthy root growth and control weeds. Remember to flag sprinkler heads before aeration. Plugs should be evenly spaced and two to three inches long, so watering well beforehand is a must. Aeration provides a great surface for fertilizing or over-seeding.


Fertilizer should be applied when grass is actively growing. Fertilize cool grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass, fescues and ryegrass in the spring. Wait to fertilize warm weather grasses such as buffalo grass, blue grama, and bermudagrass in midsummer. Colorado lawns prefer a fertilizer that is primarily nitrogen and includes some iron. Mulching mowers leave the grass on the turf and essentially provide all the needed nitrogen. (more…)