Spring is here and it is time to get your garden in planting shape! Gardens need to be cleaned up, maintained, and refreshed after every planting season, especially after winter. Don’t forget that the soil needs to be prepped and then allowed to rest for a few days before spring planting begins. Here are tips to prepare your garden in spring for the next growing season.
Not everyone is a fan of cleaning, but your garden surely needs this done twice a year. Pull up any dead or diseased plants including their root systems. Remove dead limbs from your plants and any branches that are growing in the wrong direction. Dead plants and limbs can go in the composter, whereas you will want to burn diseased plants. Clean out the plants, debris, and fallen leaves out of your flower beds, containers, raised beds, and garden patch and toss into the compost pile.
Take a look at your tools including your hand tools plus your shovels, rakes, and lawn mowers. Give them a good cleaning with vinegar and water. Repair any tools that are broken or chipped and sharpen all the blades. You will do less damage to plants and the grass when pruning, mowing, or harvesting by using sharp tools.
When gardening in raised beds or containers, add in equal parts potting soil and compost. Then add in organic soil amendments such as blood and bone meal, earthworm castings, and fish emulsion. If you are using the same beds as last year, till all of these into the existing soil to replenish the nutrients that were used last season. Water it down really well and allow the soil to rest for a couple days before you start planting. For flower beds and container gardens, mix all of these ingredients together in a big tub. Then side dress existing plants by sprinkling it around the existing plants and raking it in gently.
For a large vegetable garden, rent a rototiller and first till the soil at least 6-8 inches deep, preferably 12 inches. Then till in compost and the soil amendments. Let your newly turned soil rest a few days before planting.
Now is the time to start planning! This is the time of year I sit down and plan out what I will plant, what seeds to order and where it will be planted! Do you companion garden? Here is an article about companion planting to get you started if you don’t.