Spring In Full Swing, 14 Things You Should Do


Once we reach Late April/ Early May the season is full swing. We aren’t past the last frost dates yet, but it is high time to get the garden in order and to plant plant plant. In fact, for our region in Ohio, Zone 5, Mother’s Day is high point for the garden centers. That is the day everyone buys and plants some flowers.

I thought I would provide some pertinent tips, a list of chores and their pages, for this busy time. Take a rainy day to make your garden “to-do” list. I arbitrarily chose the number 14, but we must start and stop somewhere!

1 This is an ideal time to plant trees, especially container grown ones. The procedure is to:

Ditto for shrubs.

2 Don’t delay getting cool crop veggies into the ground. Annual seeds can be planted anytime, and annual plants can be put into the ground after your frost dates have passed.

3 Spring cleaning. The garden furniture, cushions, birdbaths, and everything that was put away for winter can use a bit of a brush and a scrub.

4 Be careful about uncovering the roses. When warmer temperatures and moist conditions rule, gently pull back mulch, slowing uncovering over a period of a couple weeks. Give them their first feeding. Apply fertilizer after first leaves unfold.

5 This is the time to plant up your containers, if that is a task you enjoy doing. Making your own plant displays is easy and guarantees something more unique and tailored to your house and garden. Whether you use a “recipe” or pick out your own combination from the garden center, remember to combine plants with similar water and light needs, and use the “thriller, filler, spiller” formula for a well balanced design.

6 Weeding Tips: Moist ground right after a rain shower make pulling baby leaves a cinch. Usually just run the blade under the surface of the soil.

Dryer ground is necessary when removing grass weeds (otherwise the roots hold onto the ground). I like to use a Cape Cod weeder for most of these chores, but a ‘claw’ works best for getting those grasses out of your flower beds.

7 Lifting and dividing many perennials is possible now. I would wait until late summer for both German Iris and Peonies, since that is the ideal time for this task with those spring bloomers.

8 Start a Compost pile, if you don’t have one already. Plant trimming, grass cuttings, and all sorts of garden debris can rot down to help improve your soil. Read about the details of compost making, here.

Use finished compost to topdress garden beds now, along with a good organic fertilizer.

9 If you had an early start in the garden, and planted cool weather veggies, you may need to thin those plants now. Use them as baby greens for your salads. Thinning the new plants to their proper spaces ensures that the plants grow and produce well, getting plenty of nutrition, sunlight, and moisture.

10 Save your eggshells and add them to the garden. Crushed eggshells provide calcium and that is very beneficial to your tomatoes.
11 If you haven’t had the benefit of a soil sample test, this is the time to understand your soil and add the right amendments. Basics include:

  • Knowing the pH, before you plant a bush or tree
  • What nutrients the soil is deficient in and the amounts to add.
  • Suggested plants and their expected yields

That was part of the information in my own soil survey, and much more basic, helpful information was included.
12 Time to attend to raspberry canes, thinning out old ones and spindly ones, training the ones that are left and feed by adding compost to the soil.

Prune your grapevines, now.

13 Look through your ornamental trees and evergreens for bagworms. Pluck cases and burn.


Bagworm case on a pine.

14 These are but a few of the many possible tasks that you may have in your garden. Sometimes we need to be told to take time to enjoy the place we are working so hard to create.

If you wish to combine work with pleasure, visit an Arboretum to learn more about plants, shrubs, trees, that grow in your area. Walk around the garden to take notes, but also to enjoy the blooms, the sunshine and fresh air. Look up. allow the sky and clouds to remind you that the world continues in its seasons whether we work or play. Allow yourself a little play, even though there is so much to do.

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Ilona Erwin, author

Meet the Author


I started working on this website beginning in 1998, when it was part of "Ilona's Reflecting Pool". Since then I've branched out into a number of online endeavors and work at writing lots of content for my sites. The work on "Ilona's Garden" remains my primary site and is dedicated to home gardener's success.