Originally posted on February 4, 2020 @ 8:13 pm
Spring is on its way. If you enjoy cultivating a home garden, this is an exciting time of year. It’s also the ideal time of year to take certain steps to ensure your garden is prepared for the months ahead.
There are many tasks you can complete in late winter and early spring to prepare a garden for the season. By following the advice here, you’ll be much more likely to grow a lush, healthy garden.
Choose Summer Bulbs & Seeds Early
Many gorgeous plants flower in summer. From dahlias to Oriental lilies, the options are certainly plentiful.
That’s why early spring is a good time of year to start researching your options. It’s much easier to grow a truly impressive garden when you take the time to plan it out. By choosing and ordering bulbs and seeds in advance, you might also avoid the summer rush, making it easier to find exactly what you want.
Clean Your Garden Beds
A lot of debris can accumulate in a garden bed over the course of winter. To prepare for spring, remove all dead organic matter until you’ve reached the bare soil. It’s also important to trim the borders of deciduous grass. An electric grass trimmer will get the job done quickly, ensuring your garden is ready for planting.
The organic matter you remove from the beds could be added to a compost pile. However, you should not compost weeds, as their seeds may then germinate. You’re better off simply throwing them away or burning them.
Disinfect Your Greenhouse
Do you have a greenhouse? If so, early spring is a good time to disinfect it. This is key to removing algae, moss, and dirt that accumulated during the fall and winter. Cleaning these materials away simply allows more light to enter the greenhouse during growing months. Additionally, you should sweep out any materials on the floor of the greenhouse, as they can impact its appearance in a way that detracts from the beauty of the plants inside.
Sow Certain Seeds Early
Some seeds, like geraniums, require a longer sowing time than others. You can begin to sow these in late January or early February to ensure they’re thriving and healthy by spring. Before doing so, you might want to research other seeds with similar sowing times. It’s possible you’ll find new plants you’d like to grow but hadn’t considered.
Start cleaning the pots of last year’s bedding sooner rather than later. When doing so, check for black vine weevil larvae. These white grubs can be found throughout the spring and can damage or even kill your young plants. These pests feed on roots and therefore often live in compost. Kill the larvae you find, and look into vine weevil treatments, as you may need them this season.
It’s also important to check the crowns of your perennials for slug, aphid, or snail colonies. They often hibernate in these areas during winter. Again, remove any you find, and be prepared to inspect your plants for signs of these pests as the season carries on.
Install a Water Butt
Precipitation of all kinds is relatively common in winter and early spring. Take advantage of this by installing a water butt on your property. This helps you collect water for use later. Rainwater is particularly beneficial to growing plants.
This is a crucial step to take if you are trying to conserve resources and protect the environment. If you don’t save rainwater now, you may be forced to use your municipal water supply to a greater degree than necessary later on in the year. This is both costly and unsustainable.
Of course, you want to make sure your water butt doesn’t direct water towards your home. Position it beneath a downpipe to guard against water damage.
Move Deciduous Shrubs
Deciduous shrubs are dormant in the winter months. This makes winter a perfect time of year to move them if you had planned on doing so.
Start by digging a circular trench around the shrub. Your goal is to remove as much of the root ball as possible. When planting the shrub in a new area, make sure it’s at the same level in the soil it was previously at, and water it regularly to keep it healthy.
Tackle Basic Structure Maintenance
If fences, trellises, or raised beds play any role in your garden, winter is the best season to inspect them for signs of damage. You’ll be too distracted with other gardening tasks later in the year to repair them.
Use the colder months to maintain and repair these structures when necessary. If you do need to make repairs, it’s relatively simple to do so with basic equipment, such as a multi-tool outfitted with oscillating tool blades. Before spring arrives, you should also thoroughly wash all fence panels to remove grime, dirt, and other contaminants.
Prepare Your Gardening Tools
You’re probably going to be very eager to return to gardening as soon as you can after all this preparation. You don’t want to set aside a day for an important gardening task, only to find your tools aren’t in the proper condition.
Take some time in winter to clean and sharpen your gardening tools. Since dirt can easily stick to these tools, you may need to use strong detergent, along with hot water and a scourer, to remove it completely. This is also a good way to ensure your tools don’t get rusty in the off-season.
Do you use any heavy duty lawn care equipment, such as a riding or cordless lawn mower? If so, you might also want to have it inspected to confirm the parts are in good working order for the season ahead.
Set Aside a Composting Area
Composting is the process of collecting organic waste and letting it decompose. The result is a nutrient-rich soil helper which helps plants grow. Along with providing your garden with key compounds, composting is also good for the environment. For example, with compost, you’ll have less need for chemical fertilizers.
You can buy a composting bin at a garden center and place it in a convenient spot on your lawn, or you can simply build your own with wooden planks. Be sure to turn your compost each month with a garden fork. This helps to aerate it and encourage the breakdown of organic matter.
As you get ready for the warmer months, you may be very excited to get back into your garden. You’ll enjoy gardening much more this year if you take certain steps to prepare ahead of time. To ensure your garden impresses, complete these tasks early. Doing so is key to preparing your garden for spring.