In the early ’80s, the National Garden Bureau partnered with several US horticultural organizations to legislate National Garden Week. In 2002, the National Gardening Association successfully extended the holiday to the month of April.
Here’s a list of fun ways to celebrate National Garden Month.
Decorate Your Outdoor Space
If you’re green thumb-challenged, you can still participate in the National Garden Month fun. Ready your backyard, deck, or patio for the warm weather ahead.
Dust off the patio furniture, add new pillows, and seat cushions. Set a vase of fresh flowers on an outdoor table. Clean up any green and black stains on your outdoor furniture with Wet & Forget Outdoor.
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Renovate Your Lawn
Early spring is the best time to tend to your lawn as the turf is just beginning to ‘wake up’ from a long winter’s sleep. Renovating your lawn will encourage new, healthy growth and eliminate bothersome weeds.
Aerate the lawn
Aerating your lawn will break up any hard, compacted dirt, allowing your lawn to ‘breathe’ again. You’ll quickly notice a difference in turf appearance.
Lawn aerator machines can usually be rented from a local garden center.
Add Compost, Soil Amendments and Grass Seed
Feed the soil with essential soil amendments and nutrients listed on your soil test report. Improve clay soil with gypsum.
Improve sandy soil with compost. Adding rotted manure will improve all types of soil.
Water your lawn on a regular schedule. Outdoor temperatures can quickly rise so keep the soil moist until new roots are established.
Harvest and Enjoy Early-Spring Herbs
Perennial herbs like sage, thyme, and oregano ‘wake up’ in early spring. Snip fresh herbs with garden shears, removing a one-third section.
The best time to harvest is in the early a.m. To harvest herbs, you will need garden gloves, garden scissors, and a container to hold the clippings. Water your herbs a few hours before harvesting.
Keep healthy cuttings and toss any that are wilted or damaged. Rinse herbs in the kitchen sink under a trickle of cool water.
Plant a Salad Garden
Salad greens thrive in the cool temperatures of early spring and add a healthy addition to mealtime. Whether you prefer your greens sweet or spicy, there’s a wide variety of greens from which to choose.
Arugula, cress, leaf lettuce, mesclun mix, and spinach are just a few that easily grow from seed. In the southern U.S., salad greens are often grown in winter using a cold frame.
Prep Your Garden Beds
Early spring is the time to prepare your garden for the growing season.
Remove fallen leaves, stems, over-wintering weeds, and garden debris with a garden rake. Throw branches and leaves in the compost pile. Prune back perennials for new spring growth.
If you haven’t had your soil tested in a while, now is a good time. Send a soil sample to your local county extension office.
They will test it to determine the quality of your soil, including the amount of calcium, nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus.
Clean your garden tools with mild soap and a utility rag. Scrub metal surfaces with steel wool to remove hard, caked-on dirt.
Condition hand tools by applying a coating of linseed oil. Use a sharpening stone to sharpen blades. Clean and condition wood-handled tools with mineral spirits and a utility rag.
Don’t forget to work the soil! Turn the soil with a garden shovel. Break up large clumps and remove weeds, rocks, or other debris.
Toss a 1-inch layer of compost or manure on the surface. Work it into the top few inches of soil. Rake the surface until it’s even and smooth.
Make a Garden Craft with the Kids
Creating vegetable plant markers is a fun National Garden Month project for kids of all ages. These colorful plant markers are crafted of colorful felt, hot glue, and craft sticks.
Start by cutting simple shapes from felt sheets – circles for tomatoes, long ovals for cucumbers, triangles for carrots, star shapes for veggie tops, etc. Press the finished markers into the soil near each plant row to identify each veggie.
Get Some Sun and Exercise
Our bodies need sunlight to produce Vitamin D and everyone knows that exercise is good for you, so get outside and enjoy the healthy benefits of gardening. Planting and garden maintenance including weeding, raking, and pruning can burn approximately 300 calories per hour.
Tilling, shoveling, and spading improve upper body strength and tones muscles. Always stretch and warm up your muscles before you start.
Join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)
If you have no time or space for a garden you can still enjoy fresh produce throughout the summer. Local farmers offer their garden bounty through farmers’ markets, food co-ops, and CSAs.
When you join a CSA, you are purchasing a ‘share’ of seasonal vegetables. From spring to fall, you’ll receive a regular supply of fresh, locally grown veggies from a local farmer. It’s a great way to eat healthily and support the food community.
See the USDA’s national food directory for a CSA near you.
Did you know? Vitamin D helps with bone development, boosts the immune system, and helps with weight loss.