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Home and Garden: It’s time to get the garden ready

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By Tris DeRoma

Springtime is the time of year when a certain energy returns to the air and the ground. It is a time when gardeners have to think about how best to use that energy.

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According to gardening experts, the first step one has to do right now is clear a space for that energy to flow.
Clear away all the dead stuff, the perennials, last year’s tomato plants… make sure there’s nothing to stop the new plants from coming up.

While the experts recommend clearing away the dead plants and debris and keep an eye on the weather if the plan is for plants. Seeds are OK, but according to Master Gardener Denise George, there still may still be some frosts in the forecast, especially in Los Alamos and in the Jemez Mountains.

“You don’t want to spend a lot of money, put it all out there only to have everything die,” George said.

Another good thing to do he said was prime the soil. Because Los Alamos County was in primarily a desert climate, the soil lacks nutrients and other natural additives to encourage growth.

Fertilizer and mulch are key ingredients.

“Things won’t do well here if you just plunk them in the ground,” George said. “Our soils are not that conducive to growing flowers, though some native plants will do just fine.”

If many varieties of flowers will be in the garden, just be warned that they will need extra care.

While native plants will do just fine on their own, some flowers, especially those not native to the region, will need extra water.

Metzger’s, the county’s hometown hardware store, has two locations at Rover Boulevard in White Rock and Central

Avenue in Los Alamos to help you get your garden going. According to Pat Conner, manager of the Los Alamos location, both stores have recently stocked up on a wide range of plant foods and fertilizer to help.

“I’ve been having the boys put out all kinds of dirt and fertilizers, so people are beginning to buy all kids of neat, spring-related things,” Conner said.

Conner also said the stores have been readying their lines of lawn and garden items also.

“People are beginning to buy weed and feed, starting to buy seeds, things like that,” Conner said. 

White Rock already has plants for sale, and soon, when it starts to get warmer in Los Alamos, the Los Alamos store should follow suit with its annual racks of perennials and other favorites.

“It seems like spring has finally sprung,” Conner said.