Soil -- If the soil that's currently in your yard is the same soil that was there last year, it will, of course, have to be replaced. This is because after having been left outside in the cold and wind and ice and snow all winter it's really in no mood to do you any favors now, like growing your oh-so precious planty-poos. For the penny-wise gardener: The federal government will subsidize your resoiling if you're willing to accept a mix of 70 percent loam, 20 percent peat and 10 percent dead military veterans.
Planting -- When starting plants from seeds or bulbs, it's critical to place each seed or bulb in the hole right side up or you'll find yourself with roots growing up into your yard and foliage growing down into the soil.
(To determine which sides of your seeds are up, call Bob's Psychic Pseed Hotline at 1-800-GREENME and have your Visa or MasterCard handy.) On the other hand, a good rule of thumb if you're planting more mature plants is to hire a knowledgeable and inexpensive immigrant.
Feeding -- Take a look at the human dietary pyramid. This widely accepted nutritional blueprint, a product of extensive laboratory and field research, suggests that we -- animals -- require a diet rich in grains, fruits and vegetables; that is, plants. So it stands to reason that plants, since they are already plants, should be fed a diet rich in us, or, more broadly, meats and fats. So far, my own experimentation indicates a thin layer of veal piccata will yield a thick, luxurious lawn; a chicken chimichanga platter buried at the base of flowering shrubs will intensify coloration; chili fries add hardiness to annuals; and what better use of Spam than to let succulents suck on it.
Pests -- Garden pests run the gamut from crabgrass to ants to rabbits to DEA agents. But instead of introducing toxic substances that can harm innocent creatures and pollute air and water, consider natural solutions to your problems. For instance, last year, I brought in a pride of lions to keep the deer from nibbling the tender shoots in my vegetable garden. I also kept my Johnson grass under control by planting some Vagina grass nearby. Meanwhile, the Christian fundamentalist militia that lives in my potting shed has proven very effective in keeping my more profitable acreage free from government operatives.
Pruning -- Pruning has become quite controversial in the past few years as groups like PETAL (People for the Ethical Treatment of Anything Living) have characterized it as "violating the vegetative state" and a "horticultural holocaust." This column recommends gardeners still do their springtime pruning but that any boughs they trim be replaced with prosthetics.
Happy gardening, everyone. ©
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