Think because your lawn is buried in snow you can’t be taking care of it? Think again! It’s time to get out that shovel and clear your entire yard from snow, then delicately prune each blade of grass to prepare for spring…
No, not really.
But as you gaze out at the sea of white and daydream about the smell of grass clippings or the feel of your hands in the dirt, there are a few winter tasks you can tackle right now to take care of your lawn—even if indirectly.
Sharpen Your Mower Blade
As far as winter lawn care goes, once you get the hang of it this is a pretty quick, simple task.
- First remove the spark plug, just in case. You know, just so your mower can’t accidentally come to life and ruin your bowling hand.
- Next, tip over the mower, taking care not to let oil get into the filter or carburetor.
- Remove the blade, which should be simple enough with the right socket wrench and something to keep the blade from turning while you work.
- Put a piece of tape on the bottom of the blade, so you know how to put it back later—otherwise, it won’t cut the grass.
- Put it in a vice, sharpen it with a large metal file, and voila! Don’t worry about over-sharpening; your lawn mower will do just fine spinning at such a high rate of speed.
Of course, you can always take your mower in for a tune-up—a respectable outfit should clean the carburetor, sharpen the blade, replace the spark plug, and much more for $100 or so.
A sharp blade will more uniformly cut the grass, making it healthier in the long run. It will also extend the life of your mower. So take half an hour this weekend to do a little winter lawn maintenance, and you’ll be ready to hit the grass running when spring arrives.
Creative Garage Hacks
Garages are amazing. They’re like a black hole, a magnet for superfluous garden implements, broken Christmas lights, and tangles of extension cords that never seem to make their way out. But when spring comes, if you can quickly and easily find everything you need, your lawn will thank you, because you’ll spend more time taking care of it than hunting for that bag of fertilizer or pH tester. Here are some creative ideas for organizing your lawn and garden stuff:
- Hit up your local reusable building materials center for old school lockers—then assign one to each member of your family. That way you can keep track of the stuff you use most often, like sun hats and kneeling pads.
- Take the almighty pegboard to the next level by drawing an outline of each tool on the pegboard itself. It will remind you—and everyone else!—where the right spot for each tool is. And it will stay nice and organized for longer than a week!
- Think small—install a simple shelf above the door or in another small, easily overlooked space. It’s perfect for items that only need to be used once or twice a year.
- Donate your extra shovels, rakes, etc. to that neighborhood kid starting his own landscaping business. Or give it to a deserving organization that could use some tools.
- BONUS! This won’t really help you get organized, but boy does it feel good to have a clean garage floor. Clean the concrete with a mixture of 2 parts bleach and 3 parts baking soda—when you’re finished mixing, it should have a paste-like consistency. That mixture, plus some rubber gloves and a good stiff brush, will get your concrete shining in no time.
Create a Garden Map
In addition to the tips we outlined last week, we discovered this website the other day, and we’re pretty much in love. First, search for your address on Google Maps, then use the Google Earth functionality to get a top-down survey of your yard. Then visit the Garden Planner for an interactive tool that lets you visualize and build your ideal garden. Draw the shape of your lawn (or whatever area you want to work with) using Google Earth as a guide, then add in shrubs, flowers, trees, planters, even sheds, greenhouses, and basketball hoops—you name it. Draw your dream garden! The tool also includes a built-in shopping list function, so you can go to the garden center with exactly what you need.
Winter lawn care doesn’t have to mean you’re actually outside in the yard. It means going into spring with a plan of attack, and a lot of work already done. Want to talk about how else you can get your lawn in shape this year? Contact your local Spring-Green, and together we’ll work out a plan to get rid of those weeds for good.