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Jithin Maeikkayil, a gardener from Galway, explains why spring is ideal time for gardening

GALWAY: The spring season is a time of hope and joy for all of us. Spring marks the beginning of the growth of leaves, the blooming of plants, and the birth of young animals such as chicks and lambs.

However, according to Jithin Maeikkayil, a Malayali gardener in Galway, spring is the most important season for a gardener as it influences plant growth. He says that spring is the best time of the year to do cleaning, pruning, feeding, and planning. He believes that one’s hard work in the spring will reward them with a fruitful and beautiful year ahead.

In his article about ‘Spring Gardening’, Jithin explains each of the four processes – cleaning, pruning, feeding, and planning.

Cleaning

● Clean your pots, planters and garden ornaments which keeps the creepy crawlies at bay.

● Clean your patios, cemented or tiled surfaces and tarmacs, which reduces the number of slugs and snails.

● Clean your ponds, tanks, water features and rainwater storage. It cuts down moss buildup.

● Clean around your plants trees and shrubs for a disease free and healthy garden.

● Clean up the clippings and debris after pruning to avoid spread of old fungal or viral diseases.

● Clean and sharpen your garden tools to get the best use out of them.

Pruning

● Prune the dead, diseased and damaged parts of plants to ensure good health.

● Prune your stems to an outward facing bud which gives an ideal goblet shape.

● Prune the crossing branches and suckers for a good shape and health of a plant.

● Prune your shrubs which aids in greater flower and fruit yields.

● Prune your perennials for a tidy and robust garden.

● Prune your trees for shape and aesthetics.

Feeding

● Feed your soil. A healthy soil profile is critical for a healthy garden.

● Feed your plants after pruning, ideally with an organic or a slow release fertiliser for a healthy and sturdy spring growth.

● Feed your lawn just after the first trim on a high mover setting. It’s ideal to scarify, aerate and top-dress your lawn in spring.

● Feed a spring lawn feed with moss killer if you have trouble with moss.

● Feed the nature around you like bees, butterflies, birds etc which keeps the pest population in check.

Planning

● Plan your gardening for the rest of the year, make a list of what, where and how you want to grow. It will maximise the yields and helps with companion or succession planting.

● Plan a space for kids in the garden, show them the magic of nature.

● Start seeds or plants indoors now to get an early start and a long season, a green house or a south facing window will suffice.

● Guard your young shoots from slugs, snails, aphids and other pests along with some late frosts. Any damage to young shoots can inhibit growing.

● Install support systems like trellis, arches, tepees and fences.

● Install irrigation systems and rainwater harvesting units for easy and economic watering.

● Spread compost and well rotted manure in the garden which will be slowly released when the plants reach their active growth.

Jithin Maeikkayil

#gardenmadness

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