Spring is the right time to start fresh, especially when it comes to the garden. If you are serious about your garden, getting things ready in the late winter will help put you on the right path to having a great garden. But what is necessary to prepare your garden for spring? Here is a checklist of the things you can do to make your garden for an incredible season. No matter if you’re a beginner or only looking for a refresher, this guide is here to help.
1. Clean up
Throughout the winter, your garden will have been exposed to what is left behind from storms and other elements. So, about a month before planting, you want to first start by clearing all of your garden lawns and beds of leaves, broken branches, and other debris that have collected. You can even hire a pressure washing company to help clean out and wash your greenhouse. While you are at it, wash seed trays and pots to help prevent diseases.
In addition, to prep for spring, trim off any dead or broken branches. If you compost, add the leaves and others to the compost, now is the excellent time to start. Then fix broken fences and gates, this will give you more time to spend in your garden during the spring and summer.
2. Sharpen and clean tools
To the end of winter, make sure you clean and sharpen your garden tools. Properly maintaining these tools can help preserve them, and save you money in the long run, while also preventing the transfer of disease. For instance, dirty secateurs are infamous for spreading fungi and bacteria to fresh pruning wounds.
Use hot water, strong detergent, and a scourer to give these tools a thorough clean. Maintaining and sharpening your garden tools will also enhance their performance as they will give cleaner pruning cuts and will be easier to work with. Plus, use turpentine to clean any garden tool that has moving parts.
3. Re-energize the soil
You can start working on the soil once the frost is over. Soils tend to become compact in winter, so you need to loosen it back up by turning or tilling it. You can use a good spade or tiller to turn or till the soil to about the depth of 12 to 14 inches. Also, you should mix right in any leaf litter or mulch that is properly composted, but you should remove first if it is too fresh.
Then, add amendments and compost. You can test the soil so as to know what type of materials you may need to include. For instance, if you a poor soil, it is very important to add fertilizers to improve the soil’s nutrient content, texture, and moisture-retention.
4. Remove weeds and mulch spots in beds
You can easily remove any weeds with shallow roots appearing in your garden. Covering bare spots with ground cover or mulch will reduce the emergence of new weeds. It is usually enough to add mulch to a depth of 3-4 inches. This is an easy way to reduce the population of slug in your garden beds.
When applying mulch to the garden beds or any other area, make sure you keep it a few distances away from the crowns and stems of plants and the tree trunks. This will protect the bark of young fruits and reduce rot on their stems.
This time of the year, many scrubs and trees can use a good pruning. Late winter or early spring is the right time to prune because the branch structure is well visible, and you can shape the plant before it starts investing energy in its branches, and the buds break dormancy.
For example, you can prune wisteria in late winter if you want to give it a chance to rejuvenate new growth for the summer. More plants you may want to prune in late winter or early spring include Lagerstroemia (Crepe Myrtle), Rose, summer-blooming Spirea, Cercis (Redbud), Lagerstroemia (Crepe Myrtle), Cornus Canadensis (Flowering Dogwood), Buddleia (Butterfly Bush), and more.
6. Early planting
You can start many plants indoor during the winter that you can plant out in spring. Some of these plants include potatoes, onions, some lettuces, and artichokes. Perennials and bulbs tend to be easy to plant – dig the hole at the right spacing and depth, if necessary, add amendments and include the root/bulb ball and make sure that is the crown is at the right soil level.
Furthermore, to shield your seedlings, you can plant the dense planters with beer traps to stop snails and slugs when they become active in the spring. When you keep your seed trays indoors, you can spend your time outdoor cleaning your beds for the spring.