I began writing this post on 3/14/16 – a full week prior to the official first day of spring. Though I’m certainly not complaining, where the heck did winter go?? But being in the nor’east means I’m not immune to Mother Nature’s cruel personality disorder as March 21st isn’t technically the end of the ‘white stuff’. I remember my mom bundling me up and dragging me to my sister’s house after my oldest nephew was born mid-April during a snowstorm back in the 70’s.
I may not be ready to break out the planters, landscape fencing, mulch and picnic table umbrella, but after finally taking down the Christmas lights yesterday ( before we became the scourge of the neighborhood) and finally getting over a chest cold that had lingered since early February, I’m ready (and so are my hostas below!) to begin prepping my home and yard (and me!) for outdoor weather.
As I described in this post, I became fascinated with re-growing food in water which led to me to planning a container garden for mainly root vegetables on the back patio. This weekend I’ll begin germinating seeds (once my warming mat arrives from Amazon) so they’ll be ready for transplanting once we’re past the last frost date (which is 5/1/16 here). But there are other non-weather related ways I’m gearing up for spring.
Make A List: Probably the most important step. If not, I’ll be flying blind. What I think is multi-tasking is really lack of focus on one task at a time. I’m dividing what needs to get done into two major categories – house and yard – listing each task then breaking down into steps to make them more manageable. For example: ‘Clean Out Shed’ is just too overwhelming and will make me feel unproductive if I can’t check it off if I’m only part-way done. But sub-tasks such as “Pull Everything Out Of Shed’ ‘Sweep’ ‘Hose Down Floor’, ‘Sort/Toss Anything Broken’ can allow me to complete it in doable steps.
De-Winterize: I’m not talking about flushing out the pipes and filling them with anti-freeze. I mean going through drawers, cabinets, closets, etc. for any winter and/or holiday-related items that will no longer be called upon for use. Blankets, heavy tablecloths, Christmas tableware/ornaments/décor, (snow) boots, coats, scarves/gloves/hats, etc. I’m done with hanging onto that one coat I haven’t worn in years because, well, you never know! I’m only keeping what has been consistent and functional and donating the rest.
Prep Wardrobe: During the winter, I live in leggings/jeans, boots as I rather choose warmth and comfort over style. But once the weather is warm enough, I’m giddy about wearing dresses, skirts, peep-toe pumps and pretty costume jewelry (I’m a bracelet gal, but why bother when they’re hidden under layers of long sleeves?) Now that it’s season-appropriate, I can go through my closet and dresser drawers and gather any spring/summer items that are in good shape to bring to the consignment shop. I did that this with winter stuff back in November (and picked up an $87 check a few weeks ago!). Then, comes the fun part – making a list of pieces I want to add for a nice ‘me/shopping’ day!
Gather Your Tools: As soon as we know we’re well and truly out of the woods in terms of the white stuff, hub and I will set aside a weekend to do the exterior cleanup. Snow and windstorms left our yard littered with branches and twigs and heavy rains washed away some of the mulch in the landscaped area. And since I’ll be taking on more of a role in the green thumb area, I want to be sure all our yard tools are accounted for and in good condition. Now’s the time to take inventory of our equipment and supplies and to make a list of what’s needed (potting soil, containers, fertilizer beads, new hose, etc.) Hub has been doing cleanup down at a shop he’s readying for rent, so I don’t want to be looking for the metal rake, wet/dry vac or leaf blower only to find out he left them there. When I’m ready I want everything to be accessible.
Access Annuals: We have a flower box that wraps part-way around our front ramp as well as one outside our kitchen window. I had used to plant a colorful variety of annuals such as pansies, impatiens, marigolds, begonias and silver dust, except for the last two years where we planted only red geraniums which looked really pretty. Do I want to go this route again, or shake this up with a different layout? Decisions, folks, decisions!
Commence Germination: Rather than using the commercial germination trays, I found a great article on Pinterest (as well as inspiration from lagoodvie on Instagram!) to do them in eggshells. Between hub and myself, we go through about a dozen eggs a week, so I quickly accumulated three 18-ct cartons of shell halves. The other bits were crushed into coffee grounds to add to my soil for extra nutrients (see, I’m becoming a pro already!) I’m just waiting for my warming mat to arrive from Amazon and the startings of tomatoes, radishes, parsley, basil and carrots will be able to commence indoors and hopefully be ready for transplant outside after 5/1.
Pamper Those Peeps! One word my winter-weary, boot-covered tootsies look forward to – PEDICURE! Once I dip my toes into that bowl of sudsy warm water I swear I can hear them go, ‘ahhhhhh’!
Canning Recipes. In this post I was so proud of making homemade applesauce from an apple tree on our property. I just didn’t stop there. For Christmas, I made edible gifts which also included spicy fig chutney. Now that I’m well supplied with Ball canning jars (especially ones I snagged for a fraction of the cost at Goodwill), I’m hoping to be able to not only score peaches and pears from our trees (before the dang squirrels feast on them), but also take advantage of seasonal fruits – especially when they go on sale. I also want to see what I’m able to can from anything I grow (tomatoes especially). Now’s a good time to peruse Pinterest (like I need a specific reason to peruse Pinterest!) to begin collecting ideas.
Wrap Up Pending Tasks: I keep a Master Task Log where I add things I need to get done as they come to mind. These are usually tasks that can be done within the month. Elsewhere, I keep a Household and Yard Task Log where more long-term, involved tasks go. Some have been on that list for a l-o-n-g time (hangs head in shame). Between now and mid-April will be a good time to take a hard look at those lists and punch out anything that’s been living on Procrastination Island. Copper pieces I’ve been meaning to clean and store in the dining room curio. A shelf for our mudroom I bought from Target over a year ago that I’ve yet to assemble, sorting out one of the hall closets that holds small appliances, extra platters and an avalanche of plastic storage containers, just to name a few. Getting these done, off my back and checked off my list will allow me to spend more time on my container garden and other big projects we have to get done outside.
Schedule Car Maintenance: I have a lease and every six months I get a notice from the dealer for my scheduled oil change/tire rotation. And since my last appointment was in September, I’m very much due. I don’t do a lot of driving that I rack up 3,000 miles quickly, but I want clean fluids before the real hot weather hits and also be ready for any last minute long trip.
The anticipation for spring has gotten me very excited this year. I’ve never grown anything from a seed in my life and am both nervous and excited for my upcoming endeavor and seeing that first sign of spring peeking up from the ground had me giddy. I want to be ready to be able to give my garden the attention it’ll need and deserve so I’m planning to prepare myself the best I can between now and May 1st. What are your plans for spring/summer?
Till next time!