The snow is gone. Now the real work begins in yards and gardens.

Ah, the tree buds are open. Daffodils and tulips are up and out. Dandelions are greening up and entering the first blast of the season. The darn snow is finally gone and there shouldn’t be any more frosts until October. It is hard to believe. We made it.

What this means is there are so many things to do. I apologize if some of this sounds like I’ve written about it before. The chores are the chores and they need to be listed.

First, it is time to clean up. You don’t need me to tell you what to do other than prod you to run over yard debris with the mower after you pick up the supersize stuff that won’t mulch up. All of what has fallen is “brown” material and is great microbe food for a lawn that will be getting nothing but “green” food for the rest of the season.

Fill in some of those vole trails if you want to speed up what will be a natural repair. Toss some compost — no more than a quarter inch, on the damaged area, and then lay down some grass seed. Keep the damaged areas damp for the next two weeks.

No thatching allowed. What a waste of time. And, it is so much work! Let the lawn green up before you decide to do anything to it or put anything on it. All it should be getting right now is water and more water.

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Listen to the “Teaming with Microbes” podcast with Jeff and Jonathan White:

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This means you have to set up your watering system. It is mandatory that every faucet and every hose, as well as all watering tools, have a quick connectors and on both ends when it comes to hoses. I like the brass types. They really do last forever, though your tools may require the plastic kind. Either way, no more twisting and turning; snap hoses on and snap tools off.


A traveling lawn sprinkler is a must in my book. So is a timer attached to your faucets. Lay out the hose, turn on the timer and off it goes.

And, now is the time to water the lawn, though it probably has already started to green up because of all the snow melt. The soil food web microbes are responding to the exudates the new blades of grass are manufacturing. This is all your lawn needs. Make sure it gets a couple of inches of water every 4 or 5 days. Do not lime. Do not fertilize. Do not apply weed and feed. Water is all it needs.

A hose should reach every corner of the property and none should leak. No one wants to get wet watering. The water is too cool — 40 degrees, so if you need new rubber washers, get them. If you need new hose ends, they are easy to repair. After a while, an investment in a new hose might be in order, however, as they don’t last forever.

Adding a hot water outlet makes sense here and is a big luxury. Your plants won’t go into shock every time you water. A barrel full of water will warm up and can be used on garden beds and containers.

Sweep your driveway. You can spread that gravel on the lawn. Really! It will work its way down and help keep things aerated. Aeration? Yes, now is a great time to aerate lawns and alleviate compaction. Rent a machine. Leave the plugs to break down.

Jeff’s Alaska Garden Calendar

Alaska Botanical Garden: The nursery is open with already hardened-off plants. Lots of local perennials. The place looks great, too, so take a look around.

Harden off: Any plants you buy should be left outside in the shade for a few days before being moved into partial sun.

Spruce bark beetle: They are going to be on the move until mid-July. Deal with those dead trees now.

Compost: Turn that pile!

Jeff Lowenfels

Jeff Lowenfels has written a weekly gardening column for the ADN for more than 45 years. His columns won the 2022 gold medal at the Garden Communicators International conference. He is the author of a series of books on organic gardening available at Amazon and elsewhere. He co-hosts the "Teaming With Microbes" podcast.