Reader Ideas for Simplifying Early Spring Chores

Right here’s the inside track on top-dressing

I choose to top-dress my flower beds whereas my perennials are napping safely underground, however I usually discover myself doing this whereas the crops are up. That chore is made a lot simpler with a 58-ounce cast-aluminum scoop. It’s sufficiently small to maneuver amongst crops however holds sufficient compost, mulch, or—as proven right here—composted wooden chips to cowl actual property shortly. Lastly, it leaves a hand free to carry crops apart whereas I’m making use of the product.

—Jim McCaulley, Ringoes, New Jersey

Sunflower trellis for tomatillos

When it got here time to put in assist for the outrageous development of tomatillos in my greenhouse, I noticed that these volunteer sunflowers I didn’t have the guts to tug had grown thick, sturdy stems. I wove quarter-inch rope between them and—voilà!—immediate helps. I’ll strategically benefit from that bonus subsequent yr, however I’ll make sure you select varieties that don’t threaten my greenhouse’s 10-foot ceiling.

—Jenny Noble, Horsefly, British Columbia

stack of terracotta pots with bubblewrap between each pot

Successful Tip: Storing terra-cotta pots for winter

There may be restricted area in my storage for storing terracotta pots. I’ve had the unlucky expertise of stacking them within the fall after which having to interrupt one to get them aside within the spring. Now I take previous bubble-wrap envelopes and place them between pots as padding. The pots are straightforward to separate, and this offers that bubble wrap a second life.

—Lori Walsh, Rockford, Illinois

Defend crops from an early spring freeze

We’re at all times excited when spring comes round and dormant crops similar to peonies and lilies leap from the bottom. Then it occurs—winter has the final snicker within the type of a below-freezing chilly snap. To defend crops already sprouted, I invert a plastic container of the suitable measurement over the tender foliage and weigh it down with a rock in order that wind or critters can’t displace the container. The pots are simply eliminated the following morning when the chance of freezing has handed.

—Katherine Coker, McDonough, Georgia

Hen-wire deer protection

plant covered with chicken wire

The deer begin searching my perennials within the fall, and it will get worse because the winter progresses. My backyard is simply too giant to fence in, so I defend the most-abused crops with hoops of rooster wire. I take advantage of a 1-footwide roll of wire and lower hoops of various sizes to suit the crops. I anchor the ends of the hoops with 4-inch staples that forestall the hoops from being pushed misplaced by passing animals. I take away the hoops within the spring when plant development is robust and the deer produce other issues to eat.

—Barbara Burkhart, Apex, North Carolina

A greater grip in your rake

Having a straightforward grip on a backyard rake makes raking a lot simpler. When your backyard gloves don’t present sufficient grip, wrap the deal with of the rake with the grip tape used on tennis rackets or an analogous kinesiology tape. It makes an enormous distinction.

—Peg McCann, St. Joseph, Michigan

Images: courtesy of the contributors

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