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  • Plan your garden. A pencil and a piece of graph paper with a one-centimetre grid will work. For best results plan your raised beds in a north-south orientation to give your plants the best exposure as the sun crosses the sky. If your raised bed is oriented east-west, the plants on the north side of the bed will get less light as they will be shaded by plants on the south side.

  • Plant some leaf cuttings and watch them grow. African violets are an easy choice. Snip off a healthy leaf and bury it until the leaf touches the soil. Keep moist until you see small leaves beginning to grow.

  • Take stock of tools you may need for your activities this spring. The right tools can make gardening more fun. Consider a Dutch hoe, a flat-bladed hoe that will cut weeds by skimming the surface of the soil with minimal soil disturbance, or a draw hoe that can be used for mounding soil or digging small holes, as well as for cutting weeds.

  • In milder areas spray with dormant oil before growth occurs. Dormant oil serves to smother stages of pests that overwinter on plant leaves and branches. Spray when you have temperatures of at least 5°C and at least three consecutive frost-free days. Old oil can burn your plants so be sure to use fresh dormant oil that is well mixed.

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