Happy V-Day, everyone! While we would highly encourage you to take a nice romantic walk with someone special in your garden (and/or whatever else floats your boat) today, we want to help shift the focus of your loving energies. To that end, here are a few love-themed tips and tricks for displaying your affection for your special garden spaces.

Cover UP!
Think Victorian romance, awright? And if there is exposed soil in your yard or garden, cover it up as soon as you can in order to prevent rain-induced soil structure damage. Try this: if you see an arborist working in your neighborhood, ask if they can leave their chips in your yard before leaving the ‘hood. Spread those 4-8 inches deep over top of your bare soil, and breathe a (chaste) sigh of relief. And trust us: your soil microorganisms do love you back.

Eyes Wide Open
Yes, you have our permission to go on the prowl. Especially if you did a great thing and used a sheet mulch in the fall, pests (slugs chief among them) may be enjoying their cushy living conditions a little too much. Start by spending some time in your garden space, looking closely, at various times of day. If you see critter activity, though, don’t rush into anything: work on recognizing the specific issue(s) and identifying non-toxic control strategies before you take action.

Don’t Let That’n Get Away
Keep a very, very close eye on cover crops planted in fall. Your best bet is to cut them down and dig them in on a day when the soil is not saturated…but if that doesn’t happen before they start to go to seed,remove them ASAP and put them in your great green roll-cart for “away” composting. Seeds that get left in the garden or the home (not-hot) compost pile will stay viable, and can cause serious weed problems. So use this as an opportunity to cultivate your inner stalker–in a good way!

Take a Walk on the Wild Side
Finally, planting native plants is a perfect way to show your long-term commitment to vibrant, healthy, diverse relationships. By attracting beneficial insects and creating wildlife habitat, native plants help you out in the edible garden. Where to go for natives? One of the best local resources out there is GardenSmart. Read it/love it. Check out EMSWCD’s Native Plant Sale; after that’s done, we suggest venturing out to Bosky Dell.

Even though you might have other things on your mind at this time of year, it is one of the best times to get to know your garden and learn to love it better.