Ready for beautiful blooms and healthy harvests in the garden this spring? I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to grow sugar snap peas, lettuce, arugula, cilantro, and all my early-spring favorites! The time is drawing closer with each day.
Good news – you can get an early start on your perfect spring garden now. Waiting until spring actually arrives does not make for a spectacular start to the gardening season. It often means long hours prepping the soil, pulling up weeds, and worst of all, it usually means paying for overpriced transplants at your local nursery because you didn’t get your seeds started in time.
Here’s what you need to do right now:
1) Work on those weeds.
If it’s not excruciatingly cold where you live, take advantage of any warm and sunny winter days by getting out to the garden to pull up any weeds you can. Pulling out all the weeds you can now will greatly reduce your weeding time when the weather warms up. (Quite literally, one weed pulled up now can prevent up to a hundred or more weeds later on!) In truth, this chore should’ve been started back in the fall and early winter. If you didn’t get a start on it back then, it’s not too late to start now!
2) Pamper your soil.
Getting your soil ready now will be one of the most important things you do for your spring and summer garden. Good, healthy soil is always one of the most important factors in the garden. In fact, some gardeners will tell you it is the single most important part of the garden as a whole.
Don’t dismiss the power of healthy soil. Add quality compost to your soil now and let it sit to enrich the soil before planting time. Top dress your garden and flower beds with 2-3 inches of organic compost or mulch, if possible. Consider doing a pH test and sending it off to your local extension office for testing. Remove rocks from the garden, loosen up hard clay as the weather warms, and clean up your beds so they’ll be ready for planting soon.
3) Consider the light.
As you’re out in the garden weeding and prepping your soil, pay close attention to the light in your garden. What areas get full sun? Which areas receive shade? Keep in mind as the days get longer, shady areas may get more sun later on. Knowing the lighting factors in your garden pays off when it’s time to plant. Many vegetables need full sun and lots of light in order to thrive and grow properly. If you’re not getting adequate amounts of full sun, consider relocating your garden.
4) What or Where… is the source of your water?
You should also think about your watering needs in the garden. Do you have access to supplemental watering? Nothing kills the garden quicker than a lack of water, especially in the throes of the hot summer heat. Do you have a water spigot nearby or rain barrels? How hard will it be to transport water to the garden? Should you invest in soaker hoses this year? Think about your watering needs now, before you’re too hot and exhausted.
5) Start those seeds.
If you love to grow your plants from seed, now is going to be the time to get started. It’s also the most economical way to garden. For most of us, sometime between mid-February to late March is the right time to start seeds indoors, depending on your climate and final frost dates. That means you need to be making plans to start your seeds now. Buying your seeds online and through the mail is a great (and fun) way to get started. Check out these tips for making the most of your seed buying experience.