You can sense it in the slowly stretching evenings, the higher skies, the shifting quality of light, and the noisy chatter of birds. And you can see it in the flowering hellebores, witch-hazel and sweetly perfumed daphne, as well as the snowdrops, daffodils, cyclamen, aconites, crocuses and dwarf irises that have pushed their snouts through cold, wet soil to burst into determined, brilliant bloom.
You can also feel it: that gardener’s instinct that says it’s time once again to start riffling through old stashes of seed packets, order seed, get tools ship-shape and begin pottering, pruning and weeding. As another great circle of the gardening year wheels to a close, spring – dare we say that word out loud – is only just around the corner. Below are some tips on how to be as ready as you can.
Last year’s wet summer and record-breaking mild, wet autumn resulted in explosive weed growth while simultaneously preventing many gardeners from tackling weedy beds and paths in a timely and effective manner. So, grab the opportunity to do so over the coming weeks before other more pressing jobs get in the way. See the Q&A section below, for some planet-friendly ways to get beds and borders back in shape, as well as the best tools to help you do so.
Other very useful, organically-acceptable methods of transforming weedy ground into productive garden beds include using a few overlapping layers of cardboard spread over the surface and then covered with a 15cm-20cm layer of organic mulch (see mulch.ie and envirogardenandhome.com) or good-quality top soil (landscapedepot.ie) into which you can then immediately plant.
Another more time-consuming but less labour-intensive alternative is a sheet of resilient plastic spread over the groundRead more on irishtimes.com