A few things to help get spring good and rolling:
* If you didn't spread mulch over the winter, get it done now before the summer heat sweeps you indoors. A layer of organic mulch--shredded leaves, shredded bark--keeps the sun from drying out the soil, reduces the number of weeds, provides food for earthworms, provides nutrients for plants and just looks better. From the mid-Atlantic south, about 2"-3" will last a year or so. If you get a late start, only apply about an inch, that way you can apply some more this winter and get on a better schedule.
* If you have new plantings, put a soaker hose around them (see earlier post about soaker hoses), cover the soaker hose and bed with mulch, connect the soaker to a garden hose, connect the garden hose to a timer and connect the timer to your spigot. Then when you go to work you can cut on the timer/spigot and go to work knowing that the water will turn itself off and your plants won''t be toasted during a heat wave.
* If you haven't applied lime to your fescue lawn, you can do so now. Really you can do so anytime. It takes about 6 months for the lime to have any effect.
* Pull weeds before they can set seed. Keeping the number of weed seeds down will reduce your weed population over time.
* Even if you don't eat them, plant dill and fennel. Their wide clusters of tiny flowers will attract tiny wasps that don't sting people and lay eggs that attack garden pests, like tomato hornworms.
* From the mid-Atlantic south, even if you planted in April, there are still vegetable crops that can be planted in May and June: sweet potatoes, okra, watermelons, pumpkins, corn, new potatoes, cucumbers and winter squash as well as any mid spring crops that had setbacks, such as tomatoes, peppers, etc. It's a long enough season for late spring/early summer plantings to do well.
* If any leaves show signs of disease--early blight on tomatoes, rust on iris, for example--pull those leaves and throw them away. Any rain or overhead irrigation that hits those leaves will splash the disease onto other leaves on other plants.
* Any perennials that grew too tall and flopped over last summer can be cut back hard now. That will force them to grow more stems that are shorter and more stable.
* Deadhead flowers that seed in more than you like or just to keep them from putting energy into seed production at the expense of next year's flowers.