As longer days bring less chill in the air, the mind of every gardener turns to their spring garden plans. But the waning days of winter sometimes make novices run when they should walk, leading to mistakes that bring disappointment.
But any veteran gardener will tell you that those mistakes are valuable experience, as they teach us that in order to be good stewards of the life that flourishes in our gardens, we need to learn to take the right steps in the right order.
So for all of you new gardeners, here’s a list of steps you should take to transition your garden from winter to spring.
- As winter begins to recede, check all of your plants for any storm damage. Are there broken tree branches? Damaged bushes? Action should be taken to remediate damage as soon as you discover it. Plants will resume growing as the days become longer and damaged plant tissue is an open invitation to insects, fungi, and molds to move in.
- Clean up plant debris from the previous season to create a healthy garden bed. Aerate garden beds with a hand cultivator to loosen the top layer of soil so air and water can feed plant roots. You should also add a generous feeding of compost and organic fertilizer early in the season.
- This month decide what you want to plant in spring and summer. This will give you time to research your favorite flowers or vegetables and learn how to plant seeds and seedlings for best results. For beginning vegetable gardeners I highly recommend buying The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible by Ed Smith. It’s a well organized book which I still use regularly.
- Buy strong garden tools. Working with cheap garden tools that break, aren’t sharp or otherwise don’t do the job properly is frustrating and can actually damage your plants. Before you buy a new tool, make sure it’s comfortable in your hands and it feels like you can apply pressure to it without snapping it in two. The must-have gardening tools are a digging shovel, hand trowel (for digging small, shallow areas), hand garden cultivator (for weeding and aerating) and a garden pruner.
- Make a garden plan. Note where the sun hits your property and at what time of day. Know if your plant likes sun or shade, part sun or part shade, dry soil, wet soil, or something in between. You’ll also have to experiment – if a plant isn’t thriving in one area, move it to another and see how it does there.
- Buy plants from a reputable garden nursery. Some large nursery centers don’t care for plants properly when they’re on the lot. Don’t buy plants if they’re crispy brown, the potting medium is bone dry, or if leaves are falling off, are discolored or look chewed. These are signs of stress and possible infestation and the chance that your plant will survive, much less thrive, is doubtful.
- Buy or make a compost bin. Composting is key to a garden’s success, as it adds biological elements to the soil that bottled or bagged fertilizers can’t provide.
- Read gardening books. New gardeners should read as much as possible on organic gardening to create a healthy environment for their plants and themselves.
More information can be found in the post: How to get ready for spring gardening at Big Blog Of Gardening.
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