Resist the Rake!

March 7, 2018

By: Barb Holtz

When I was in the naturalist biz, I hiked with many a young child. This time of year we chatted about Mother Nature's seeming inability to make up her mind regarding warm or cold, grow or rest, snow or thaw. I assured the mud-loving bunch that Mother Nature was well-versed in spring and it's needs. In fact, the give and take strategy allows wildlife to ease into seasonal change. Some things shouldn't be rushed.

In the few of weeks, the thermometer has registered 60s. Rains warmed, soil softened, and green shoots shot up. I have pictures to prove it! Raise your hands if you pulled a rake or shovel from the honest, now.

I'm here to tell you to STOP!! Us gardeners, soil worshippers and nature lovers of the north simply can't help ourselves. A glimmer of sun and squishiness of soil and we're salivating. But it's not time. It's not time to disturb soil structure or rake beds. Trust the process and allow awakening.

Leaves in landscaped beds or naturalized areas harbor overwintering insect larva like fireflies. Soiltary bees may be slumbering in hollow stems. Chilled dirt goes deep. By raking and digging, we upsurp nature's wisdom and ways and the reason for gardening sustainably is dashed.

So resist the rake and shun the shovel well into April, even May. With a changing climate, nature needs time to adjust so don't cause more harm. When neighbors are out with the mower asking why you're just watching, share this wisdom: I'm letting Mother Nature do her spring thing. She's been doing it for years and for free.

P.S. It's still a great time to seed and March Madness is on! Get 10% off your order this month (excluding Seed Packets and the 20th Anniversary Prairie).

Scene in my yard on a Tuesday to be followed by...
Scene in my yard on a Tuesday to be followed by...
...on a Friday. Gotta love Northeast Ohio!