Garden Care

Why Wait for a Spring Clean Up?

Written by 

Taylor Hazel

June 10, 2024

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We get it…we’ve been sitting around all winter & now the weather is changing & we’re ready to be outside. We’re all feeling eager after a long Zone 3, Saskatchewan winter. However, there are so many reasons to wait to clean your yard for the growing season. Patience is a virtue & why do all this extra work if you don’t need to? 

winter home garden flow

There’s a misconception that the day it warms up outside is the day the garden needs attention. If you left your garden in the fall without much of a clean up then congratulations, nature celebrates you! Even if you didn't do a fall clean up, it’s better to wait until it’s consistently warm outside to tidy your space. There are other beings relying on nature's seasonal cycles.

budding Apple in home garden

While it may be warming up & the snow has melted, this doesn’t mean all of the plants are ready to emerge yet. Most are still sleeping & slowly re-emerging from their slumber. Lots of insects & beneficial pollinators like bees are also sleeping in your garden. The garden is their shelter & they could be sleeping in stems, clump grasses or mulch. Their eggs could be in your leaf litter. Nature relies on us being mindful of her presence. No matter how big or small, the creature is playing a role in the ecosystem. Gardens are not meant to be just about us!!

home garden in early spring
home garden in early spring

When beginning to clean up your garden & yard, leave about 12-15” of the perennial still standing. Any dead organic matter you cut down can be left right on the garden as mulch to decompose. This offers the garden all the yummy nutrients, feeding the soil & closing the circle of life. If you’re not into the whole chop & drop movement, then it can also be added to any compost pile you have. 

early spring yarrow in home garden
home crater garden

Some plants are slower to emerge than others. Therefore, it's best to wait to determine if some plants have survived the winter until further into the season. Maybe don’t uproot a plant if you’re not 100% sure it’s dead?

There are a few other ways to tend to the outdoor spaces without cleaning your garden up right away:

  1. clean up trash & any unwanted litter from the winter 
  2. plan, plan & plan. So often, planning gets left to the last minute anyway..distracted by life & all the other things going on
  3. starting seeds indoors. Are you planning on growing veggies or even perennials? Plant those babies inside early & then transplant them when the ground is thawed & warm enough
  4. earthing or grounding with your shoes off is also a fun practice we love(barefoot on the Earth)
  5. hang out & relax outside, observe & interact with your space by listening to the birds, bees & insects emerge
  6. uncover early bloomers...these could include any Prairie Crocus (Pulsatilla patens) or Three Flowered Avens (Geum triflorum) that you’ve planted

Keep Growing, Cass & Taylor

Taylor Hazel

Two of my roles within Common Ground are designing outdoor spaces and connecting with clients. Ecological landscaping, connecting a landscape with the surrounding environment, is the focus of my design and install work. I have 4+ years of experience in the field, getting my hands dirty and learning the blue collar ways. I love being able to bring spaces to life for residential and commercial projects.

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