Now that it’s officially spring in Cincinnati and we’re done with the snow (we hope!), the warmer weather makes this a perfect time to spend time outdoors and maybe do some gardening. That’s why WCPO’s Mona Morrow recently asked Tim Matthews to share some important garden maintenance tips on “Cincy Lifestyle.” You can watch a video of the segment here, and read highlights from Tim’s interview below.

Go-to gardening tools

Make sure you have the right gardening tools on hand before you start working in your yard. I always like to have a good set of hand pruners and my trusty weeding knife. This versatile tool comes in handy not only for removing weeds, but also when you’re digging holes for new plants.

Protect the earth

I prefer to remove most weeds by hand, so I don’t have to spray chemicals that could harm you, your family, or wildlife around your home. See more eco-friendly landscaping tips.

Stay sharp

Before I even begin gardening, I like to sharpen my tools. It’s going to make my job a lot easier and be healthier for the plants. If you’re not comfortable doing that yourself, you can find a lawnmower repair shop to do that for you. It’s really important to maintain your tools to make sure they’re sharp and on top of their game. Just be careful not to cut yourself!

Clean your tools

One mistake a lot of people make is not cleaning or disinfecting their tools. They don’t realize they could actually spread disease from one plant to the other. Dip or wipe your tools thoroughly with a 1-5 solution of chlorine bleach or Lysol. You can also use bleach-free wipes, rubbing alcohol, or hydrogen peroxide.

Water, water, water

Spring is the perfect time to plant, especially for people who aren’t avid gardeners, because rainy weather means Mother Nature will help water your plants. That’s really a big mistake people make–not watering enough. If you forget to water, call your neighbor! One of the most important thing to remember is protect your investment. Why spend all that money on plants if you’re not going to take care of them?

More mulch, please

Don’t be stingy with mulch around your landscaping beds. You should aim for about 3 inches of mulch, which can help fend off weeds and conserve moisture.