Spring will soon be arriving in Sacramento, bringing with it sunny weather, colorful blossoms, and longer days. As you start to think about dusting off the spring gear, turn your attention to the yard. While the city's Mediterranean climate in the summer is perfect for gardening, the winter rain, cold temperatures, and wind can wreak havoc on Sacramento yards in the months before. There are plenty of small things you can do now to get your yard ready for long summer days and nights spent outside. Having the right tools will make mastering your backyard spring cleaning much easier. Before you dig in, make sure your shed is stocked with these backyard essentials.
There are two basic types of rakes, and it usually helps to have both kinds handy: leaf rakes and garden rakes. Sturdy leaf rakes are used to clean up leaves, twigs, and other winter debris that have blown all over the yard. Look for one that is made of stainless steel or cast aluminum to stand up to heavy use. Garden rakes are made of forged steel and are designed for getting into the dirt to dig up clumps and aerate the soil.
Once you have scraped away all traces of winter that were left behind, focus on the weeds. By tackling weeds early, you'll eliminate them before they have a chance to seed, giving you more time to relax in your yard instead of spending the days weeding later in the season. A trowel, which looks like a small shovel, is essential for digging up roots and clearing out weeds. It is also good for breaking up clumps of dirt and digging holes for new plants. Look for a trowel made of stainless steel or cast aluminum to keep it from rusting or bending in half after the first dig.
Pruning shears are a must-have for any garden tool belt and will keep your yard from turning into a jungle. Once the weeds are cleared away, turn your attention to plants and bushes that may need to be trimmed back in preparation for spring. Roses should be cut down to allow for new growth. Find a pair that fits well in your hand and keeps you from cramping up halfway through your landscaping duties. The shears should also be easily taken apart so the blades can be sharpened.
Gardening is good for the mind and soul, but it can be rough on the body, particularly the hands. A good pair of gloves will not only keep hands clean, but will also protect the skin from dangerously sharp thorns, prickly weeds, and twigs. Look for a pair that is sturdy, but not too bulky for the best fit.
Whether your yard is small or large, you will want a wheelbarrow to haul around yard trimmings, plants, vegetables, and soil. A traditional hand-powered wheelbarrow costs under $100 and will save you time, energy, and a sore back.
The local stores below may be helpful in getting started:
Hours: Mon to Sun—8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
With three area locations, Capital Nursery has served Sacramento's gardening needs for over 70 years. Customers can find high-quality plants and trees, helpful staff members, and gardening tools and supplies.
Hours: Mon to Fri—7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sat—8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sun—9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
East Sacramento Hardware has been a local favorite of midtown residents for decades. Here you'll find a great selection of garden tools and gloves.
Hours: Mon to Fri—7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sat—7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sun—8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
For over 100 years, Emigh Hardware has been a family-owned and operated Sacramento hardware store featuring a great selection of garden tools and equipment, including wheelbarrows.
Hours: Mon to Sat—7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Sun—8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Green Acres Nursery & Supply is a go-to destination for yard care. Pick up a rake at one of the two locations in the Sacramento area.
Hours: Mon to Sun—8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Talini's Nursery is a neighborhood gardening destination. You can find plants, garden tools, and other supplies all in one place.
Karen Boruff is a freelance writer living in Sacramento. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.
for more features.