When is the perfect time to begin thinking about what needs to be done to prepare your garden for spring? The answer: while the snow and ice are starting to melt! Ensuring you properly prepare your garden for spring will guarantee it will thrive all year. Here are 8 tips for preparing your garden for spring.
1. Plan. Use the time, while the ice and snow are starting to melt, to plan the steps you will need to follow. This includes ensuring you know the last frost date for your area. Having this information will allow you to create a plan with the steps you will need to follow to ensure your garden is ready for the growing season!
2. Clean the beds. Ensure all gardening beds are cleaned of debris from the fall and winter. Pick up all twigs, branches, and rake the leaves and old mulch out of the beds. Also, remove all the annuals left from the last growing season.
3. Sharpen Your Tools. Ensure all your gardening tools are sharpened for the coming season. These include clippers, shears, pruners, saws, and mower blades to name a few.
4. Prune. It is important to ensure your perennials, roses, trees, and shrubs are trimmed. Different plants require pruning at different times of the year. Some will need to be pruned in the fall after all growth has stopped and the plants are in hibernation. Others need to be pruned in early spring when you see growth at the base of the plant. Ornamental grasses, on the other hand, do not require new growth to be seen prior to pruning.
5. Weed/Fertilize/Mulch. Once the snow and ice are gone for good, weed your gardens. This is easily accomplished with wet soil. Wetting the soil will ensure you are able to pull the entire root, instead of breaking it off at ground level. After weeding, it is time to till your soil. Add a fertilizer or compost and till again. Lay your paper, if you choose to use it, then, mulch your beds.
6. Divide & Transplant. Perennials should be divided and transplanted in the early spring. If you divide and transplant in the spring, your plants will grow more robustly and will result in healthier plants. You will need to do a little research to determine when, how, and how often your specific variety of plants will need to be divided and transplanted.
7. Inventory. Take an inventory of all your supplies, including bulbs, seeds, plant supports, and garden decor. It is always best to do this as early as possible, as your favorite gardening stores will have a wide variety and plenty in stock.
8. Start Your Seeds. Using the information you learned regarding your last frost date, you can start your seeds indoors. Using the growing time for the plants you choose to add to your garden, and count back based on that information and your estimated last frost date, to determine the right time to start flower and vegetable seeds.
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