Are you looking to get a jump-start on your gardening or landscaping this year? We are all anxious to get into the yard and get our hands dirty, but what can you do before you get started with your planting? A lot. There are plenty of things you can be doing to prep you garden and yard for the spring, we have put together a small checklist to help you get everything ready for planting.
Lawn and Garden Maintenance
☐ Clear drainage ditches
Over the winter your drainage ditches can fill with gravel, salt, mud, leaves and all sorts of debris. Without proper drainage your soil will retain water and your plants may suffer. Cleared materials can also be used to help enrich your compost.
☐ Preparing your lawn for spring
Raking your lawn at the beginning of the season will remove dead material from the surface, allowing air and light to reach the lawn. Once you have raked all of the debris from the surface reseed any bare patches in your lawn.
☐ Select a site for your garden
If you are just starting a garden this year you want to choose the correct placement. Be sure that your garden will receive at least six hours of sunlight per day, and is located near a water source. You want to choose level land that drains well, and is protected from high winds. Once you have chose the perfect spot, pull all roots from your new garden and be sure to remove as many rocks as possible. Also consider building a fence to keep out pests.
☐ Repair existing beds
If you are using an existing garden, you want to start by inspecting any raised beds, trellises or fencing. When there is less growth in early spring it will be easier to make repairs. Set new fence posts, repair bowed beds and fix any trellises you may be using this season.
☐ Weed and mulch
Pull any early spring weeds while the roots are still shallow and there are no other plants in the garden. Add mulch to any bare spots in the garden to help prevent more weeds from growing. If you are adding mulch around existing plants and trees, avoid the base and stems helping to prevent rot.
☐ Pull any plant or vegetable skeletons
If you still have plants in your garden from last season, it should be easy to pull them from your garden.
☐ Clean your greenhouse and tools
Be sure your greenhouse is ready for planting and any tools you may use over the season are safe and in good condition.
☐ Order your summer flowering seeds and bulbs
☐ Start seeds indoors that have a longer growing season
Once you have all of your seeds and bulbs, you can get them started indoors or in your greenhouse. You can use household items to start your seeds rather than buying the small pots, try using:
- Toilet paper rolls
- Ice cube trays
- Paper cups
- Citrus fruit halves
- Yogurt containers
- Egg carton
- K cups
Cultivating your soil
☐ Create a composting area
☐ Loosen soil
Aerate your soil. Pounding rain and gravity can cause your soil to compact over the season. You want to be sure that your soil is loose it before you plant.
☐ When soil is dry ‘top dress’ beds
Add your compost and manure to your beds. Avoid the urge to dig into the bed, nutrients will work their way through the soil.
☐ Get your pH balances
Add lime to your soil in order to raise the pH balance of your soil.
Don’t let cabin fever get you down, there is plenty you can do early in the season to give your gardening the jump start you are looking for. Once your lawn and garden is ready, your tools are prepped for the season, and your soil is cultivated, you will be ready to plant the garden or lawn of your dreams.
For more advice on planting and garden prep –