Are you preparing for spring gardening? We have ten tips that will help you launch the spring season successfully.
Spring is just around the corner. Soon, the sun will be shining bright again and birds will be singing. But before you know it you’ll get caught up in a frenzy of seed sowing, growing, and nurturing your garden as nature is coming back to life. Every spring, your garden needs some help to get back in shape and be a good environment for all the flowers and plants you’re planning on planting there.
The harsh winter is gone, and now it is the time to assess damage from the cold season. You’ll have to fix your gardening tools, fill in the holes left in your landscape, tend your lawn, do some pruning, make new beds plant, fertilize everything, begin composting, and many other tasks that will help your garden get back in shape.
So, now’s the time to order the right supplies from the home improvement store in your area, pull out the tools from the shed, and get ready to work. And, since we believe that gardening should add joy, not stress, to your life, we have ten tips that will help you revitalize your outdoor space.
1. Prepare Your Gardening Tools
You can’t call yourself a gardener unless you have the right tools with you. Not just because they make you look cool and professional, but these tools are really useful with digging, planting, pruning, and so on.
So, before you go outdoors to see how your garden is doing and what type of work you need to do to make it look in shape again, gather all your gardening tools and prepare them for some real hard work.
Start by cleaning all your tools from dust, mud, or any other dirt that might be on them. Use strong detergent and hot water for the dirt to come off faster and easier. Next, make sure you sharpen the tools to improve their performance by giving them cleaner pruning cuts.
Important tip: Always use clean, sterilized tools when pruning trees and shrubs because otherwise you risk spreading disease from tree to tree. You can sterilize the tools with warm water mixed with a tbsp of bleach.
2. Perform a Spring Inspection
Once you have your gardening tools ready to get to work, it’s time to go outdoors for a spring inspection.
Winter, freezing temperatures, and everything related to the cold season can leave a mess in your garden. So, you need to get out and assess damage from winter to see how much work you need to get done for your garden to look in good shape.
What should you be looking for? Start by answering the following questions:
- Are there any hardscaping elements, such as the walls, fences, benches, etc., that have been damaged or broken during the cold season?
- Is there any cold, ice, or snow damage on the plants in your garden?
- Are there any beds that you’ll need to clean out?
- Is there any evidence of animal burrows from animals like skunks, chipmunks, moles, or rabbits?
- Is there any deer damage on the woody plants in your garden?
3. Uncover Your Early Spring Plants
Now that you have a clear idea of what has been going on with your garden during the cold months, it’s time to make the first step into making it look better for the hot season.
If you are sure that the risk of a hard frost has passed and from now on, spring will start to settle in, you can uncover the early spring plants you have in your garden to allow them to benefit from the nice weather.
So, if you have early spring plants like iris, tulip, azalea, primrose, pansies, petunias, or snapdragons in your garden, make sure you uncover them to allow the sun to warm them and give them space to grow and fill your outdoor space with bright colors and nice fragrances.
4. Test Your Garden Soil
Success in the garden starts with healthy and nutritious soil. The quality of the soil in your garden can have a huge influence on whether your plants will thrive or die.
So, when was the last time you got the soil in your garden tested? Expert gardeners recommend testing your garden soil every 3 to 5 years in order to find out which nutrients and organic materials it needs. In general, soil tests allow you to determine the current fertility and health of your garden soil. It measures both its pH levels and also shows the nutrient deficiencies that the soil might have.
For example, a soil test might let you know that the soil in your garden is very high in phosphorous, which means that you need to avoid adding fertilizers that contain a lot of it. Or, another thing you might learn about your soil is that it is naturally alkaline, meaning that you need to add aluminum sulfate around your plants that are acid-loving.
Thus, before you get into planting, make sure that you have your garden soil tested to make sure that it has everything your plants need to thrive.
5. Feed Your Soil
Once you know exactly what your garden soil needs to be a friendlier and healthy environment for your plants, it’s time to feed it with the right chemicals. It’s best to discuss with someone at your local garden center which products are best for your garden to thrive.
Yet, even if you don’t get the soil tested, know that a good general practice for ensuring that your soil is nutritious enough is to topdress it with an inch or two of compost, humus, or animal manure. You can also use an organic slow-release plant food for the soil around plants like perennials or shrubs. Another great way to feed your soil is to use legumes as they have the best nitrogen-fixing ability.
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6. Order the Right Bulbs and Seeds
After feeding the soil in your garden, your outdoor space is ready to provide a healthy environment for whatever plants you choose to put there. So, it’s time to decide what plants you want to have in your garden in summer.
Since at the beginning of spring, the weather is still not warm enough to start planting, it’s the perfect time to look up what flowers to choose. For example, lilies, gladioli, and ranunculi are all plants perfect for early-spring planting.
However, when choosing plants, make sure you take into consideration more than what flowers you want to see or smell in summer. More precisely, you also need to consider choosing plants that are actually suitable for your area, climate, and soil type. Keep in mind that every species has its own growing requirements in terms of light, soil, humidity, and temperatures preferred. So, based on that, choose plants that will for sure survive and thrive in your garden.
7. Check your Garden for Pests and Eliminate Them
If you have some gardening experience, then you know how much damage pests can cause. They sicken your plants, eat them, and suck their nutrients to the point where your flowers will die. So, you absolutely need to look for possible pests and remove them.
What types of pests should you be looking for? Well, there are many different pests that you may have in your garden depending on the types of plants you have because different plants attract different pests.
In general, you should be looking out for pests like slugs, snails, or aphid colonies. If your pots of summer bedding from last year are still not cleaned, you should also be looking for white-vine-weevil larvae as those pests live in the compost and feed on plant roots.
Now, for each type of pest infestation, there’s an effective solution to get rid of it. So, once and if you find pests in your garden, make sure that you first check for the best removal solutions for the pests you have found.
A few common ways of getting rid of destructive garden insects are:
- Washing plants with a strong spray of water.
- Encouraging native predators like aphid midgets or lady beetles to come into your garden.
- Applying neem oil or insecticidal soap.
8. Install a Water Butt for Rainwater Collection
Are you thinking about becoming an eco-friendlier gardener? That’s great! Then make sure you don’t let rainwater go to waste. Instead, collect it and use it to water your plants. Harvesting rainwater will help reduce the use of mains water.
How do you harvest rainwater? It’s really easy! All you have to do is to install a water butt in your garden in winter to make sure you capture enough rainwater until spring season arrives and you need to get into some serious planting.
It’s no surprise that peak demand for water happens during the hotter months. So, it’s best to be prepared. Plus, rainwater is actually the best type for plants because it is not alkaline like tap water tends to be.
Make sure you place the water butt underneath a downpipe from your house or shed. Until the hotter months come, you would have gathered enough rainwater to get started with your spring gardening.
9. Inspect and Fix Your Fences and Gates
Your garden isn’t made up only of the plants and flowers you have there. The appearance of the fences, gates, and trellis is also pretty important for the overall look of your outdoor space. So, you need to make sure that these hardscaping elements are also in good shape for the time when summer comes, and you’ll be spending a lot of time in your garden.
Start by checking the fence panels, gates, and trellis to see if there’s any sign of damage caused by the bad winter weather or decay. If you find any, fix or replace any broken structures.
Next, you can use a power washer to remove any dirt, moss, or mildew that may have gathered on your hardscaping elements during the winter months. Once the elements are completely dry, you can apply a new coat of paint or wood preservative for a fresher look if necessary.
10. Set up a Composting Area
If you don’t have a composting area in your garden, now is the time to set one up.
Compost is the secret of many gardeners’ thriving outdoor spaces. Organic items like banana peels, apple cores, woody prunings, paper, leaves, or grass clippings can turn into a nutrient-rich medium that helps plants thrive.
You can build a compost pile all year round. Yet, it’s best to do it in the hotter months because warm weather helps decompose organic waste and turn it into a soil amendment. For this reason, early spring is the perfect time to build your composting area.
Depending on the size of your garden and your preferred aesthetics, you can choose either a composting bin, such as a storage container or a trash can, or you can choose to build your own composting bin using spare wood. Make sure to lay down a garbage bag or a weed cloth under the composting bin you are building.
Once your composting area is set up, throw there any organic matter that can turn into composting and feed the plants in your garden later in spring and summer.
Spring gardening doesn’t have to be a stressful endeavor. You can reorganize and reshape your garden and find it a very joyful and relaxing activity. After all, your work is about having a beautiful outdoor space filled with bright colors, nice fragrances, and friendly bugs visiting you in the hotter months.
All it takes to make spring gardening an easy and fun activity is to plan ahead at the beginning of the season. Start by preparing your gardening tools, assessing what your garden needs to get in shape, and then you can get creative with what plants and flowers to plant. The better your garden will look during the hot months, the more enjoyable your time in your outdoor space will be.
What are you going to plant this season? Share your ideas in the comments below!