As Margaret Atwood once said “in the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” With the snow seemingly fully behind us, we can finally begin to enjoy the great outdoors again and plan for early spring gardening tasks. Here is a list of things you can do to develop your garden in the spring so that it will be thriving and beautiful by midsummer. As the snow melts, the itch to work in the garden sets in. The sooner you get started, the sooner your garden will bloom.
Inspect Your Structures
First, inspect your garden to see how it survived the winter. Check boxes and raised beds for any rotting and snow-induced damage. If you do not have raised flower beds, this might be the year to put them in: they make it much easier to get your garden started in the spring. Other fixtures like fences, decorative pieces, and bird baths should also be checked for damage. Anything that could collect harmful bacteria (like mold) or house insects and bugs which could damage plants or wildlife should be washed thoroughly.
Remove Weeds and Dead Plants
Once you’ve inspected the overall condition of your garden, start removing weeds and overgrown brush. Often during the winter, wildlife, and fowls will use this brush for shelter, but with the Spring thaw, it’s time to clear things out and start fresh. If new growth starts it will become much more difficult to separate the old leaves from the new growth. Rototilling will be necessary for areas which are really overgrown with weeds. Using weeding tools will work for small scattered weeds, but the rototiller is best for large sections. Clear away and cut back perennials as needed so the new growth is not affected by last year’s leftovers.
Are You Ready to Start Planting?
After the garden is cleared from brush and plants, you can move to actually planting. But it may be better right now to create plans rather than put plants into the ground. In New England, it may still be too early to plant most annuals. But if you planted bulbs in the fall, you can watch your daffodils and tulips start to emerge.
If you are a bit further south than Massachusetts, you can begin to plant. As you prepare, it’s important to determine whether your garden soil is ready. Take a handful of soil and try to form it into a ball, if you can do that, the soil is too wet for seeds. In the ideal condition the soil would crumble through your fingers; if this happens you can start planting seeds. April showers combined with melting snow may mean you have to check a few times before your soil is primed for gardening.
6 Tips for Early Spring Gardening
As you are beginning to garden this spring, keep these things in mind.
- Cover plants if a late frost is in the forecast
- Allow soil to settle for a week or so before you start planting
- The majority of plants only need about 6 inches of soil to grow
- You can cut back decorative grasses at any point
- Consider free, recycled fertilizers like compost, coffee grounds, and tea
- Loose mulch around seedlings will help insulate the from night temperatures
Restarting your garden is one of the most exciting times of the year. Contact New England Enterprises to learn more about landscaping design ideas and materials. If you are interested in taking your home gardens to the next level by adding a walk way, patio, or designing a beautiful landscape, this is the best time to start.