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Ten easy projects to get a jump on spring

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Scotts Miracle-Gro
When spring fever hits, it’s easy to feel a little overwhelmed with all the things you want to do in the yard. Here’s a simple list that will help you get your garden ready for good weather.  
You can start with this checklist as soon as weather permits.
If you can get these things done in the coming weeks, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying spring when it gets into full swing.
1. Start cleaning up – Get debris out of the way by picking up dead leaves, sticks and branches that have fallen, and rocks that have been heaved to the surface.
2. Have your soil tested – To see if your soil needs additional nutrients or minerals, or an adjustment in acidity or alkalinity, send a sample to your local county extension service.
3. Eliminate weeds – When weeds begin growing in the flower garden, spray them. This will kill existing weeds and prevent new ones from growing for up to 4 months. However, be careful not to spray any desirable plants. The more weeds you eliminate now, the less competition your garden plants will have for sunlight, nutrients and moisture.
4. Check if the soil is workable – Pick up a handful of soil and squeeze it. If it crumbles easily, you can start garden and flowerbed preparation. If it sticks together in a clump, it’s still too wet to work in.
5. Prepare the soil for planting – Once the soil is workable, begin preparing beds for flowers and vegetables. Remove dead plants, then work in a premixed amendment that contains a blend of rich, organic ingredients plus continuous-release plant food.
If you prefer to mix your own, you can use organic matter from compost, sphagnum peat moss, and other soil amendments.
6. Edge your beds – Cut a clean edge where planting beds meet the lawn.
Use a flat-bladed spade or a lawn edger made for this purpose, cutting deeply enough to sever grass roots growing into the bed.
7. Prevent new weeds – Apply a pre-emergent weed preventer in early spring to keep new weeds from sprouting in the garden.
8. Don’t forget your feathered friends – To keep birds coming back to your yard, continue to provide bird seed and water.
They’ll appreciate it if you clean their bird baths, feeders, and houses, too.
9. Prune and feed trees – Begin pruning deciduous trees while they are still dormant.
10. Fix up your patio furniture – Get outdoor furniture ready by repairing and cleaning it – maybe even give it a fresh coat of paint or some new cushions – before you put it out on the deck, porch, or patio.