By Marianne Binetti
If you’ve got 20 minutes you can clean up a garden bed. Speed-cleaning in the garden means grabbing an old sheet or tarp, dressing for the weather and raking in a great sense of accomplishment.
Dress for Duress
- Boots and gloves are my go-to wardrobe for spring cleanup in the damp Northwest weather. My favorite gloves have waterproof fingertips, and garden boots cover shins to keep my jeans dry.
- Clip your fingernails before slipping on your garden gloves. Then you won’t puncture the gloves’ waterproof tips.
- Buy two pairs of gloves—then you’ll always have a dry pair ready to go.
Wrap It Up
- A garden cart or wheelbarrow may work well for large jobs, but if you’ve got just 20 minutes, save time and leave the ‘barrow in the garden shed. Instead, spread an old sheet in front of the winter-weary flower bed and you’ll have a large target when tossing weeds or raking leaves.
- Once you collect all the winter debris on the sheet, just wrap it up and haul the garden refuse off to the compost pile. A sheet works especially well if you are cleaning up on a slope or hard-to-reach area with no wheelbarrow access.
Chose Your Tools
- For my 20-minute purge all I need are hand clippers to cut back ornamental grasses and perennials, and a light rake for gathering leaves and debris. Clip first, letting old stems and faded flower heads fall to the ground. Then rake up your pruning crumbs along with any fallen leaves that have not decomposed over the winter. I use the clippers to slice up any slugs before tossing them onto the sheet along with the leaves and debris.
- Next I hand-pull any weeds found lurking between the bulbs and hellebores, and toss these over my shoulder onto the sheet as well.
That’s it: One bed done, one light load of weeds to wrap up and haul away, and you won’t be sore in the morning. Just be sure to take a few extra minutes to notice all the spring flowers while speed-cleaning the beds. A freshly cleaned bed will amplify the symphony of blooms in any garden. So do you have 20 minutes?