Spring is here and the landscape is waking up from its winter dormancy. The weather is still fluctuating greatly but before we know it we’ll be past our average last frost date (mid-May) and gardening will be in full swing! In the meantime, there are still some important garden tasks to work on now before we get carried away by planting, weeding, and watering.


Trees & Shrubs

  • Prune any damaged or diseased branches from trees and shrubs – be sure to clean pruners before and after making cuts to prevent the spread of disease.
  • Prune spring flowering shrubs, such as lilacs and forsythia, after flowering if needed.
  • Prune out watersprouts and suckers as you see them (for more information visit: https://klehm.org/pruning-water-sprouts-and-suckers/).



  • Cut back ornamental grasses to about 2-3” from the ground.
  • Cut back any plant debris left from last year.
  • Pull mulch away from the crown of plants and check for frost heaving – if a plant heaved itself above the soil line, gently replant it so it sits level with the ground.



  • Cool-season annuals can be planted outside as they prefer the cooler weather and will tolerate frost. They do especially well in containers but be sure to harden off annuals before transplanting outdoors.
    • Annuals to try: pansies, violas, snapdragons, sweet alyssum, dusty miller
  • Sow warm-season annuals indoors or sow them in milk jugs using the winter sowing method (for more information visit: https://klehm.org/winter-sowing-tomato-seeds/ or view our winter sowing webinar here: https://klehm.org/winter-sowing-webinar/).


Vegetable Garden

  • Prepare vegetable garden beds when the soil is not too wet (it shouldn’t clump up too much when digging).
  • Incorporate compost into the soil to add fresh nutrients for this year’s garden.
  • Plant cool-season veggies now:
    • Direct sow: lettuce, spinach, peas, radish, beets, Swiss chard, onions, cilantro
    • Transplant: broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale
  • Plant perennial fruits and veggies now:
    • Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, rhubarb, asparagus
  • Sow warm season veggies and herbs indoors or in milk jugs using the winter sowing method:
    • Tomato, pepper, eggplant, basil