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 ~