Preparing the spring garden properly & following these spring gardening tips will ensure you and your garden space are ready!
Anyone with a desire to garden begins looking at the calendar to see when the first day of spring is. We long to begin preparing our vegetable gardens and our flower gardens, like right now. We get antsy for the warm sun on our backs. We want to sink our hand’s elbow deep in the earth. We want dirt under our fingernails. We also know that now is the time to begin planning & preparing for our spring gardening. Let the gardening begin!
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In order to be prepared to dig right in and begin our
“A goal without a plan is just a wish”.
WINTER GARDEN CHORES
Winter is a great time to begin the maintenance, preparations, planning, and ordering of any supplies you may need to begin your gardening in early spring.
One of my greatest joys mid-winter is the arrival of seed catalogs so that I can plan my growing year and order accordingly. Check out my post on heirloom seeds if you haven’t already, “It’s My Favorite Time Of Year: Buying Heirloom Seeds”, and find out what my favorites are and where the best places to order them are.
Seed catalogs are wonderful resources for not only looking at all those beautiful photos and dreaming of the day when, but also for searching for any additional gardening supplies you may need for the upcoming season. Your tools may need to be replaced or new ones added, growing supplies like trays, soils, and organic fertilizers or amendments needed, or bulbs/plants ordered for early planting.
GARDEN PLANNING & LAYOUT
Begin your gardening preparations by planning or laying out your growing space. Decide how much and what you would like to plant. If you are unsure how much to plant or what to plant, take a look at “How To Grow What You Eat” for some tips & suggestions.
Once you have the above determined, I recommend laying out on a template or grid paper how you will be organizing your plantings within the space you have. The more detailed you make this layout, the easier your job will
I’ve created a download bundle to plan, manage, and track all aspects of your gardening adventures in one binder. If there is one thing I’ve learned over the years of gardening trials & errors, it’s to keep a detailed gardening journal year-to-year.
Once you’ve downloaded this bundle, simply print as needed over and over again! And did I mention how pretty they are 😉
To grab your bundle, visit my Etsy Shop or click on the image above.
STERILIZING PLANTING POTS
In my USDA gardening zone, you can find your USA gardening zone HERE, I need to plan on readily beginning my seedlings for slower growing plants such as herbs, eggplant, tomatoes, onions, and peppers, late January through the end of February. I have to have my planting cells (I reuse mine year to year) trays, and pots sterilized prior or it makes for a long day for sure. To sterilize, I just wipe out any loose soil, rinse, and place in my tub filled with hot water and add bleach. I let them soak for a few hours, rinse, and dry.
SOW INDOOR SEEDLINGS
Once those containers are sterilized, let the sowing begin! Plant those seeds that need a longer growing time in your zone and enjoy those emerging buds.
SHARPEN & CLEAN GARDEN TOOLS
When the good weather comes, be ready with any and all your tools sharpened and ready to go! Winter is the time to clean tools with hot soapy water, oil blades & hinges, and sharpen pruners and gardening tools you will need. I also, take stock of any gloves that may need replacing & add those items needed to your ordering list. I do seem to blast holes in the tips of the fingers somehow and nothing is worse than putting a pair on and finding out a little too late that a new pair is needed 🙂
LATE WINTER GARDEN PREPARATION
If you can tolerate working in the colder climate, prune your trees and shrubs while they are in their dormant period. Prune prior to bloom period Buddleia (butterfly bush), Cornus Canadensis (flowering dogwood), Lonicera (honeysuckle), Hydrangea Paniculata, as well as summer blooming Spireas, Rose, and Wisteria.
Wait until after blooming for the following as they bloom on deadwood. Spring blooming Spirea, Rhododendron, Azalea, Forsythia, Hydrangea Macrophylla (big leaf), Syringa (lilac), Magnolia, Kalmia (mt. laurel), and Weigela.
TIP: When pruning, wipe the blade of your shears with a clean rag and isopropyl alcohol between each cut to keep from inadvertently spreading disease.
EARLY SPRING GARDEN PREPARATION
As the days grow longer and warmer, I begin to emerge from my long hibernation. Yes, cold winter months do not play nice with me 🙂 Early spring is the perfect time to make a checklist of things that need tending, making a plan & scheduling it. The perfect time to put that Garden Management Planner to good use 😉
TAKE A STROLL THROUGH THE GARDEN
Take a tour of your garden spaces. Bring along that checklist and begin to take note of things to do. Take a moment and enjoy the new growth happening all around you!
MAKE REPAIRS IN THE GARDEN
Check all your existing fences, trellises, & gates for any damage created over the winter months. Repair or replace any broken areas that may have been affected. Build any supports you may need to add to your space. If painting or staining, now is a good time to touch up or re-do.
CLEAN THE GREENHOUSE
If you are one of the fortunate and have a greenhouse, now is a great time to clear it out and give it a good scrubbing. Wash the interior & exterior with a good detergent or disinfectant, rubbing away any
TIDY UP GARDEN SPACES
Begin to pick up dead limbs, leaves, and debris that may have found their way into your beds and add to your compost pile if you have one. Cut back old dead growth on deciduous grasses and herbaceous perennials. Clear pathways and borders of any debris as well.
Early spring is a wonderful time to divide perennials such as Day Lilies, Shasta Daisy, and Hosta.
PREPARE THE SOIL
Being sure that the soil is ready and you are not disturbing its delicate spring eco-system. Springtime is the time to turn it gently with a pitchfork to loosen the soil which has been compacted over the winter months.
“Aeration is the roots of your plants best friend. The key is learning when it’s the appropriate time to dig in”.
VINTAGE SKILL: To check the readiness of your soil, pick up a handful and squeeze it into a ball. If the soil remains molded in a ball shape the soil is still too wet to handle and should not be disturbed.
At least two weeks prior to planting, add your amendments, organic fertilizers, and compost to the beds. Lightly turn in or allow them to remain on the surface to seep slowly into the soil.
DIRECT SOW COLD TOLERANT CROPS
Once your soil is prepared properly let the
Success in the garden largely depends on preparation. By planning & completing as many chores prior to the growing season as possible only sets you up for a triumphant and fruitful gardening season. Happy Gardening!
Love, Light, & Sprouts of Happiness ~
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Great post full of useful reminders and preparations! Thank you as always for sharing with us!
It is snowing and windy where I am living today. Everything is white. Seeing all this greenery and looking forward to spring si definitely a bright spot in my day. Thanks for the good tips!
This is such a useful, helpful and informative post, Suzan. It’s also very inspiring on a cold and rainy day! Thank you for being a part of the Hearth and Soul Link Party community. I’m featuring this post at the part this week. Thank you for sharing it. Have a great week!
Thank you for the feature, April! May the weather turn soon!!
Sorry I am late! I have been running behind this making memories! Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too! Come party with us at Over The Moon! Catapult your content Over The Moon! @marilyn_lesniak @EclecticRedBarn
Definitely our favorite time of the year too! Thanks for sharing this with us at the Homestead Blog Hop, it’s a great list!
It’s that time again, get prepared and be ready! Thanks so much for linking up with me at my #UnlimitedMonthlyLinkParty 9, open February 1 to 26, shared.
With the harsh Alaskan winters, Seed catalogs are my favorite thing to find in the mail! I can spend hours looking through them, planning, plotting, financing (ha!) and dreaming of warmer days. This is a great article, thank you for all the fantastic tips.
Thank you, Diana! Curious, how long is your growing season in Alaska? Glad these bring “warm” moments to your day 🙂
This is such a thorough prep list, I love it! I was very antsy this year so I prepared every possible way I could before our last frost. I’m grateful to be on the west coast again because even the winter is very workable. Not like my time living in Manchester, NH, but I am sure you know all about that 😉
Thank you for the compliment, Z! I would so love an extended growing season…maybe someday.
Ohhh I am so ready for warm weather! Unfortunately I have not made too many plans this year for what I want to do. I need to get on it!!!
LOL, it does creep up on you 🙂
Such an inspirational post, it’s always so nice to see everyone getting excited about spring. We live in S FL so it’s pretty much always grow time. These are excellent tips, thanks so much for sharing 🙂
I hope to one day be in a climate where I can grow year round!
Oh, how I wish I could get into gardening. I used to love working one with my aunt when I was growing up. The habit just never stuck ~ always too busy. Great tips, though, and, should I ever get started ~ these will come in handy.
Always a good time to start. Guaranteed once you start you won’t want to stop!
Thank you for the great reminders. I have all my starts ready and now I’m working on the green house. The snow finally melted this week.
Lucky you to have a greenhouse! On my bucket list for sure 🙂
I really can’t wait to have a garden. My fiance and I live in an RV so it will have to wait until we eventually buy a house!
Hi Katie ~
What an adventure! Think about planting in containers, a great way to garden on the “go”.
Great post! Love your blog!!
Thank you so much, Kirsten!
I love gardening. This time of year I get so impatient to work in the garden. I just finished all my early spring prep. I’m looking forward to getting past frost and late freezes and adding more herbs and flowers to the garden. Glad to connect with another gardener.
Hi Cindy~ Right there with you! Now if only Mother Nature will comply & give us some warm weather to work with 🙂
Great gardening tips for spring! Thank you for the help!
Thank you, Tricia!
These were great tips. Very helpful. I’m going to save it for next year when I plan on starting a garden!
Thanks, Kat! Be sure to download your copy of the Spring Garden Worksheet to save for when you begin! Happy planning!
Wonderful tips! I’m just getting into some small kitchen herb propagating so this is a nice introduction to the next step up for me. There seems to be a lot to do for it this time of year!
Thank you, Caitlin! Here in the Northeast, it’s always a mad rush to get the summer on with all the to do’s. I find that by doing a lot of it during the colder months makes it a bit easier when the warmer weather hits for sure!
I am not too big into gardening, but my mom is. I will share this information with her. Thank you!
Thank you so much for sharing, Anna!
Many people don’t realize that planting and harvesting is a year round job!
Absolutely! I can say that I look forward to our New Englands deep winters if only for a bit of a rest 🙂
Great read – thank you! After 4 years I finally planted my first veggie garden here in Florida. Wow what a difference from gardening in Wisconsin! I’ve been a little overwhelmed at how fast everything is growing. I have a feeling I’m going to end up with way more veggies then I thought – I’ve been asking all my neighbors what veggies they like and told them they will probably have a supply all summer!
Hi Nikki ~
What a great problem to have… too many veggies 🙂
What a great list! I’m such a novice gardener, this is really helpful!
Thank you, Junell! Glad you found it helpful!
I needed this guide! I always want to garden but don’t have much know how.
Hi Tracey ~
Glad this guide could help you! I recommend starting with something small and working from there. Forewarning: there is no turning back once you catch the gardening bug 🙂
I love gardening. I’m stuck in a big ol city and I look forward to the day i can garden again
Have a few pots or find a local community garden! Keep those hands in the dirt 🙂
Love the tips! I never knew about the wiping off between cuts. Good to know!
Thanks, Leigh Ann!
This makes me want to make a bigger garden! I would love to grow more!!!
Gardens are never too big 🙂
I can’t wait to start my garden!!
Great tips for planting. I am so bad at it no matter what I try. Lol. Trying with hydrengeas this time. I love them.
Hydrangea is one of my favorites. I hope to be adding more to our beds this year as well.
I have way too many deer in and out of my backyard to have any sort of garden (that is not in a cage), but I love how you plan and organize for the season ahead. That’s inspiring in itself!
Thank you Stacey! We too have a lot of deer through our yard. I try to plant deer resistant varieties in those areas that they go to the most. We have to use an electric fence around our veggies etc.
I love this time of year! It’s garden time!
The next few months are my favorite as well. Happy gardening!
Great tips! I slowly add things to my garden and yard each year. Always learning.
The learning never stops and neither do the additions 🙂
I almost wish you could come plant a garden for me at my house! I love all the landscaping I see in my area and I want some kinds of plants and/or bushes or flowers in my front yard but it is so much work! It almost seems like you need to be a scientist to do all that you do. It sounded like it too!
I love landscaping; it’s the same as designing and I’m an artist. But I don’t seem to have the time to learn everything you need to know to grow what will grow best in your environment. And take the least amount of upkeep as I’m pretty busy. Let me know if you ever come to Florida! lol
LOL! You never know, I go to FL every now and then! It really is not difficult, hard work yes, but so worth it in my opinion. Start small and work from there. Good Luck!
Thank you for these tips – I’m terrible at gardening yet I adore pretty gardens. I’ll take a stroll and think through your other tips and see what I can manage. Thanks for giving me a gentle push xx
Thank you, Maria! Good luck with your gardens 🙂