Horticulture/Garden Bed Cleanup

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Cleaning up a garden bed can be a joy, but can also be daunting if the bed hasn't been maintained on a regular basis. By organizing the cleanup into separate tasks, the gardener can concentrate on getting one thing done at a time, perhaps breaking up the chores over different days, or having one gardener start with the first step, and another gardener working on the next.

The most important thing is to keep cleaned up as the work progresses, meaning that the gardener shouldn't start the next step before cleaning up after the previous one. Cleaning up is often more time consuming and physically arduous than doing the actual chores,so it should not be left for the end of the day.

Garden bed cleanup:

  • Initial run-through
The initial run-through is the time for taking care of the big problems such as large weeds, dead plants, debris, etc. This should always be done first because if the gardener is called away to other tasks, at least the major eyesores will be taken care of. This stage of the cleanup doesn't require tools, just eyes and hands. If something requires tools, just wait for a later step, since there's only so much room on a tool belt and while you're removing the big stuff it's best to have both hands free.
    • Pull big, easy weeds
    • Leave small weeds in areas that can be cultivated using a hoe
    • If transplanting or potting up volunteers, do this during the initial run through and pot them up or heel them right away (see Plant Rescues)
  • Edge, if necessary.
  • Go through with weeding tool and pruners or loppers.
    • Cut down or dig out large weeds that can't be pulled.
    • Get weeds that can’t be gotten by root with hand-pulling
    • Cut any tree saplings too large for the weeder
  • Cultivate in any open areas using a hoe or other cultivator
  • Prune if appropriate, and divide any large plants (depending on season).
  • Detail around plant crowns (areas not able to be cultivated), and take care of any dead stems or foliage.
  • Clean up thoroughly
  • Pick up any piles of rocks or other debris present.
  • Add plants, if desired
  • Irrigate well
  • Add mulch or pre-emergents, if desired