1 Chhewang and Wilmer brought truck loads of composted manure to the entrance of the flower garden and carried smaller loads by wheelbarrow to each of the beds.
2 Cleaning up the garden beds and adding rich, composted manure at the start of the season is a good way to ensure big, bountiful crops come summer. I call this "black gold".
3 Composting manure above 131-degrees Fahrenheit for at least a couple weeks will kill harmful pathogens, dilute ammonia, stabilize nitrogen, kill weed seeds and reduce objectionable odors.
4 Work the compost into the soil at least several-inches down. Compost helps make the soil more absorbent and is a great way to add nutrients back into the earth.
5 This is the flower garden, but in the back, I have a few vegetable crops, including asparagus, that have continued to grow well at this location.
6 When preparing the soil for gardening flowers or vegetables, remove all the rocks, twigs, weeds and any debris from the area.
7 The fastest way to create a deep layer of fertile soil is to build raised beds. Raised beds contain loose, fluffy soil that is perfect for planting.
8 Rake the soil until it is level. Raised beds warm more quickly in springtime and maintain better aeration and drainage.
9 While raking the raised beds, be sure to mound it neatly, leaving paths in between for walking, weeding and cutting. Look how nice and straight the beds are in my cutting garden.
11 Remember all those tulip bulbs we planted last fall? They're now poking through the soil. This bed will look spectacular when these tulips bloom.
12 See the pretty white crocus growing under the pin oaks. They only reach about two to four inches tall, but they naturalize easily and come back year after year.
13 Once these snowdrops start popping up, it's clear winter has ended and spring has arrived. Snowdrops produce one very small, pendulous bell-shaped white flower which hangs off its stalk like a "drop" before opening.
14 Look at the daffodil border - it will soon burst with color. New spring growth is always exciting to see.
15 I have daffodils along the entire length of this side of the farm - this daffodil border gets more and more beautiful every year.
16 Depending on when they were planted, some daffodils are more developed than others.
17 Some of the daffodils outside the Tenant House are already blooming so beautifully.
18 Daffodils are extremely adaptable bulbs - they'll grow anywhere there is well-drained soil and at least a half-day of sun during the blooming season.
19 Daffodils are relatively safe from pests. The bulbs and foliage are poisonous to many insects and animals, including deer and voles.
20 The tree peonies have so much new growth.
21 Hellebores are members of the Eurasian genus Helleborus - about 20 species of evergreen perennial flowering plants in the family Ranunculaceae. They blossom during late winter and early spring for up to three months.
22 These pink hellebore blooms have dark pink veining on the backs of their sepals. Monthly feeding with an all-purpose fertilizer will encourage healthy, lush growth.
23 Hellebores come in an array of colors and varieties. It is common to plant them on slopes or in raised beds in order to see their flowers, which tend to nod.
24 These are 'Natascha' miniature iris - a lovely ice blue in color. They bloom in early spring. I have small clusters of these in various areas of the farm.
25 This cluster of puschkinia looks thicker every day.
26 Deep in the woods, alongside the carriage trails, the daffodils planted are already growing nicely.
27 There are bunches of daffodils naturalizing wonderfully in the woodland.
28 Behind the Summer House, all the burlap is being removed from the boxwood. Here at the farm, it's a true sign the seasons have changed.
29 Fortunately, this winter was pretty mild, so most of this year's burlap is in good shape and can be saved.
30 Once it is all rolled up, it will be labeled and stored for next season. Tomorrow, I'll show you more of our great burlap removal project.