Early Spring Checklist for Your Yard + Local Gardening Events!

Posted by on Wednesday, April 4th, 2018 at 4:19pm.

Chattanooga is finally starting to warm up, which means anyone with a green thumb is getting antsy to dig in the dirt. We feel you! Although we might still have a frost ahead, here is an early spring gardening checklist to get you started: 

Spruce up shrubbery 

Now is a great time to give shrubs a trim, so they look fresh for the season. Avoid trimming the spring bloomers, though. 

Start spring cleaning

When the weather is mild, cleaning out the yard isn’t so bad. Remove debris from drainage ditches, gutters and planting beds, and clear unwanted brush and undergrowth out of your yard. Also cut back dead foliage on last year’s perennials and ornamental grasses before new growth starts.

Consider composting

If you haven’t already started a compost pile, maybe now is the time! Use all of the trimmings from your yard cleaning to begin making some great compost to use for the seasons to come. 

Be mindful of too-wet soil

Resist the urge to work soil while it is still wet from winter frosts and spring rains. Working wet soil will pack soil particles tightly, leaving less room for water and air to penetrate. This can make it very difficult to your plants to root. It takes a long while to rebuild a healthy soil structure, so be sure it’s ready before you get to work! To determine whether your garden’s soil is dry enough to work, dig a trowel full of soil and squeeze it in your hand. If it crumbles through your fingers, it’s ready to garden!

Give soil and mulch a fresh look

Once the soil is dry enough to work with, freshen up your beds with with a couple of inches of compost or your favorite organic mix. Add more mulch to beds if needed. 

Clean out your potting shed 

It’s so easy to just toss things in the potting shed or garage after a long day of summer gardening. But at some point, you have to clean! Use this cool weather to go through and discard any broken pots or trash that may have collected. Clean your tools and get them ready for the coming season. 

Check the packet

Plant cool-season plants such as peas, onions, Swiss chard, spinach and lettuce in early spring so they mature before hot weather arrives. Delay planting warm-weather crops until you're safely past the last spring frost and the soil has warmed sufficiently.

Plan for the coming year

This is a great time to make plans for what you want your garden to include this year. Draw up plans for your dream garden and attend local classes to learn new skills.

Upcoming Spring Gardening Events

Friday, April 6

In Order to Bloom: A Study of Flowers by Jaime Barks

When: 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Where: Collegedale Public Library, 9318 Apison Pike - Collegedale, TN 
Cost: Free

Come by Chattanooga WorkSpace for Open Studio Nights and visit the 2nd floor ArtSpace Gallery. Featured artist Jaime Barks will be presenting a solo art exhibit exploring the mystery of flowers. Prints and originals for sale. Guest artist and florist, Liza Greever with Fox & Fern will have bouquets for purchase. This is a free, family friendly event.

April 6-8

Crabtree Farms Spring Plant Sale & Festival

When: April 6-7 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and April 8 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: Crabtree Farms, 
1000 E 30th St. 
Cost: Free

The 18th Annual Spring Plant Sale and Festival at Crabtree Farms offers gardeners healthy, sustainably-grown fruit, vegetable, flower and herb plant starts for their spring and summer gardens. Guests can enjoy free gardening workshops, live music, food, fun-on-the-farm activities for kids, and handcrafted items from local artisans. More than 100 varieties of plants will be available at the sale. Mike Barron and Andy Boyd, Crabtree's green house team, propagate and grow the plants for the sale with help from community volunteers. Specific plant varieties are tested on the farm to ensure they are well suited for the Chattanooga region. For more information, visit crabtreefarms.org/spring-plant-sale

Saturday, April 7

Art in Bloom 

When: 10 a.m. to noon
Where: Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center, 400 Garden Road 
Cost: $12-15

Stop to smell the roses … then be inspired and make art from them! Take a nature walk with the Hunter Museum and Reflection Riding. Students will become both botanists and artists as they use field journals to record their discoveries in nature and create prints inspired by the textures, sights, sounds, and smells that accompany the blooms of spring. Materials and a light snack will be provided. This program will be at Reflection Riding. For more information, visit reflectionriding.org.

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