This past winter brought a substantial amount of snow and its melting will give gardeners a good moist start as we begin this garden season.

An early walkabout on a most welcome sunny day will provide you a chance to access winter damage and to begin day dreaming about new projects you may want to start.  No need to panic  – yet!  Here is where you start your To-Do List.  First, begin with long-range dreams. Then edit to a more manageable short range list. Now you are ready! 

New deer fencing is first on my To-Do list so Garden Helper and I are anxiously waiting our turn as the fence company works its way down its list to our garden. This project will also include new  raised growing beds which will make planting and harvesting easier on this gardener’s back. A good thing!

Also on my short list will be several bare-root fruit trees and perhaps several small Colorado Blue Spruce trees to add to our mini forest of older pines, some now nearly 20 years old. I do love these majestic trees.

I am happy to see many seedlings appear around the garden and planting beds. Bulbs and herbs like to be first. The columbine are wonderful self-seeders, as are borage, hyssop, and chives. And of course the mint continues to send it runners out to fill in any empty spaces. I know many of you will not have a mint plant within a mile, but I do love this self-sustaining herb for its attraction to bees, decorative culinary use, and I find it easy to root in attractive glass jars for kitchen decoration and gifts.

Wildflower seeds given as wedding table favors and pollinator seeds shared at the March Belgrade Garden Club meeting have been scattered about the garden to fill in several bare areas. I hope the garden critters do not find these tiny seeds too tasty!

Recently purchased new seed packages have been organized and we are ready to seed newly cleaned small plastic reusable pots for seeds to get an early start.  Then we can directly plant cold-hardy seeds such as sugar snap peas, sweet peas, lettuce, carrots and spinach. You will have your own preferred list. Other favorite seeds will have to wait for warmer soil.

Even though Handyman is no longer with us, his spirit lives on as Garden Helper and I continue to enjoy his many projects around the yard and garden. His do-it-yourself sprinkler system  keeps the lawn and garden watered, the handsome shed he designed and built to match the house and to shelter the lawn mower and whatever else may fit in, and of course the two cedar raised beds adjacent to the shed designed to make planting and weeding easier for this gardener. We will miss his wisdom, subtle encouragement, and his wild impractical ideas that often even worked.  He will be lovingly remembered.

Nancy Riebe’s columns appear weekly throughout the growing season. Reach her in care of