Snow Melt & Early Season Perennial Maintenance

With our perennial beds finally accessible and free of snow, it’s time for us to do a little early season perennial maintenance!

For those of you who were with us late last fall, you might recall this perennial bed preparation we strongly recommend for you northern gardeners. We cover our perennial beds with 3 to 4 inches of straw, providing them additional insulative protection against our harsh, -40F/C winters. We actually hit that 40 below this year, so we are super glad we did it! This is why we don’t cut corners!

Once the beds are accessible, it’s a good idea for us to remove that straw. We want to encourage the perennials to come up, which happens via soil warming. The astute among you might observe what looks like snow in one of our beds, after we’ve removed the straw. That’s not snow! That’s ice! The insulative effect works both ways. It helps keep our beds warmer in the cold and also keeps them cooler in the warmer temperatures of spring!

We want to get that straw off as soon as its feasible, after it starts warming up. We really want that soil to thaw as this will get those (mostly) rhizomes to start responding and producing their greenery for the season. These are exceptionally cold hardy plants (typically zone 2 or 3), so don’t give a second thought to protecting them against the spring frosts. They can absolutely take it!

We do end up composting all of the straw from our beds. For some, this might seem a bit wasteful, but straw really isn’t a great keeper from season to season. We look at it differently since our compost directly goes towards producing more food for us, so we’re getting two direct uses out of it. Protection of our perennials and then some nice compost from it. Certainly, if you have other uses for it, we’re not saying you “have” to compost it.

We can’t tell you how happy we are to be able to see our garden beds. They’ve been buried by snow since about October, so it’s been a minute! This kind of work is definitely making the gardening season more real by the minute. And after the long winter, we can’t tell you how glad we are to finally be here!

We’ve also got an exciting development for you, but that’s going to have to wait until tomorrow! Dun, dun, dun. Cliffhanger!

That’s All We Wrote!

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