Bee-lieve it! It’s finally springtime!

I was so delighted to see a bee that I didn’t even mind that it buzzed its way into the house.

Bees mean springtime! And so do determined bulb shoots pushing their way up from under dry leaves, and warbling birds singing so cheerfully that I half-expect to see a Disney princess charming them under the locust tree in the backyard.

Spring is the light at the end of a long winter’s tunnel for me. It’s also the beginning of work season. It’s time to cut back on the Netflix, enjoy the fact that it doesn’t get dark until after dinner and get to it.

Here is my spring yard work to-do list, and although it might not totally apply to your yard, I hope it helps you get started.

Pruning trees — If you have fruit trees, it’s high time to get moving on pruning trees. And something you should know is that although the principles of pruning most trees is the same (to let in light, prevent crossing or rubbing branches, and create the shape you want), not all fruit trees should be pruned with the same rules.

Pruning pome fruit trees (such as apples) is different than pruning stone fruit trees (such as peaches) if you want fruit.

Really, it’s best for you to read the information sheets at the Colorado State University Extension office. They’re helpful and include some diagrams, which are good for visual people like me.

After pruning, don’t forget to apply dormant oil to the whole tree (following the directions on the label) to set up your first line of defense against pests.

Questions about whether you should dress pruning cuts/wounds (no!) and technique are covered in the Extension handouts.

There are also a few workshops scheduled if you would like some in-person instruction on pruning. You can register to attend a grape and fruit tree pruning workshop at CSU’s Western Colorado Research Center on Orchard Mesa at 3168 B1/2 Road. The public workshop is from 1–4 p.m. March 23. The cost is $25 if you sign up before Wednesday, but you must register and the class is limited to 45 participants. For information, call 970-434-3264, ext. 201.

Amending soil — Spring is a great time to mix in compost and revitalize your soil before planting.

Good news! Compost is on sale for the month of March at the Mesa County Landfill. Their Mesa Magic compost is $23.83 per cubic yard, plus tax, for the month. For information, call 263-9319.

Planting cool-weather crops — Yes! I planted lettuce. I figured, if my parsley is popping back up, and the chives are back with a vengeance, why not?

Lettuce, peas, broccoli, cauliflower and other cool-weather crops are OK to plant outside in the next few weeks.

I realize that some old-timers swear by waiting to plant until the swan’s neck on the Grand Mesa breaks. Yes, there’s a snowy patch that looks like a swan, sort of, and they consider it a harbinger of spring and a sign that you can safely plant.

Well, I have a hard time spotting the swan, and I’m impatient, so nevermind. If it gets outrageously cold, I’ll cover my seedlings.

By the way, Bookcliff Gardens is hosting a class on planting cool-season veggies at 11 a.m. today. There is a $5 registration fee.

Starting the war on weeds — I bet you probably already have weeds in your yard, and you haven’t even noticed them. I do!

I’m getting a head start and maybe I’ll win this year. Yeah, right.

But I am trying something new this year: Horticultural vinegar and a few other things. I’ll let you know how it’s going.

ON ANOTHER NOTE: The Armageddon Pantry Challenge is still going strong! Today is day 16 and we still have many staples. Check to see if we’re alive and what we’re eating at

Erin McIntyre is a writer, master gardener and owner of the gourmet pickle company, Yum Pickles. Email her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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