At last March is over. All around Rochester, citizens emerge, blinking, into the sun. The first thing most of us see? The monstrosity winter (thank you, storm Stella) has made of our yards. Gutters full to the brim, grim skeletons of roses, the thick layer of leaves veiling garden beds. Forget inside. Your lawn needs some serious TLC.

Now prepare to get dirty, unless you hire a professional. Have gloves? Great. All you need now is a rake, a spade or shovel, and a pair of shears (scissors will do). Rake out the piled refuse of winter. Putting it into piles makes clean-up easier. Veteran gardeners will know this and whether or not you’ve done this a million times or this is the first attempt, you should turn the soil. Since there are different ways to do this depending on what your topsoil is like, hit up the search engine of your choice to learn what is right for you. Turning the soil is normally done in advance of the season you want to plant in, but it isn’t the end of the world or your garden if you haven’t. Just rake the soil to churn up the surface.

Now is not the time for more delicate plants. Knowing Upstate New York, we could still get snow in June. That doesn’t matter in this situation, however. What you are looking is the last day of frost. Let your seeds stay inside where it is warm and comfy. Spend the time before that planning out your garden. Bulbs are a different story. Plant your summer-flowering bulbs after the frost is gone. Check the instructions for your chosen bulbs. There are specific depths for different types of plants.

Some plants can be started indoors. You can set up an indoor system of growth. Seedlings love lamps which simulate the light they need for photosynthesis. Later these little darlings can be moved outside. Remember to label! It can be hard to distinguish coleus from clematis in the early stages. Indoor set-ups do cost money, but the final cost all depends on what you want.

Finally, do not be discouraged. A simple garden is not difficult to keep up – people have been doing it for years. The work you put in will be worth it for the payoff. Just remember your sunscreen!