Tips to Prepare Your Garden for Spring

Photo by Marta Bibi on Unsplash

Spring is just around the corner, so it is time to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty.

As the days become warmer and warmer, the frost from winter months begins to thaw, there will be more spring gardening tasks facing you. Just looking at the leaves left in autumn, dead grass stalks, spent plant stems, tree branches, and debris overflowing in your garden will give you spring fever.

It can be a bit overwhelming, but don’t head out just yet. There are right and wrong ways to tidy up your garden. Read on and be guided, it will make your life easier.

Clear Garden

Spring is here and the warm days ahead signal big spring gardening and cleaning chores for you. Dead plant materials are all over your garden, a habitat for disease, mold, and weeds if neglected. 

But before getting your hands on your rake and clippers, be sure the soil has dried out a bit. Working on soil that is wet can cause compaction, making it hard for plants to grow. Once you’ve done that, move on to these steps:

  • Remove wraps, screens or other winter protection you added and also winter mulch.
  • Brush back heavy layers of leaves covering your plants. NOTE: You don’t have to move all the leaves to the compost pile, leave some behind. This will help keep weeds out and nourish the soil as it decomposes.
  • Pull out the roots and all the parts of dead annuals and throw them into your compost pile.
  • Take out weeds, but don’t throw them in your compost pile as they will haunt you, unless you have a hot compost and that’s a whole other activity.

Prune Trees and Shrubs with Great Care

Spring is pruning time, it spurs new growth, keeps the plants healthy, and prevents diseases from cropping up.

The old wood needs to be cut back since some shrubs and trees bloom only in new branches. Don’t prune blooming plants. Do your pruning when they are done flowering, otherwise you’ll miss the floras.

Be careful in cutting old wood as there might be cocoons of friendly insects on the branch. In these instances, leave the cutting for later.

Revitalize the Soil

It’s time to work the soil now the winter chill has lifted.

Use a sharp spade or tiller to loosen compacted soil. Work your soil up to 14 inches deep. Wait until the soil is warm and dried a bit and then apply a layer of mulch. Be careful to keep stems and crowns free from mulch.

If the soil is clay-based, the application of compost will soften it, improve its moisture retention and nutrient content.

Consider a raised garden bed if the soil is very poor.

Make your garden bed look polished with a crisp edge. It provides a separation between your lawn and flower bed.

Remove Pests

Insects, just like plants, have their growing season and they thrive during spring and summer. You can prevent these creepy crawlers from nibbling your plants with these non-toxic ways methods designed to discourage pesky insects. 

Grow healthy plants

Healthy plants are unattractive to pests. They have a chemical defense system to fend off pest attacks without help from us. The key is to have healthy soil and plants rooted in spaces where they will flourish.

Provide plenty of compost to supplement nutrition and promote healthy roots. This encourages plant growth.

Adding mulch will reduce water vaporization, prevent weed growth, prevent compaction, and add well-rotted organic matter to the soil.

Encourage beneficial insects

Lady bugs, praying mantis, spiders, and ground beetle are some of the beneficial insects that will eat pesky garden crawlers. Attract them to your garden by raising the flowers they like such as dill, sunflower, yarrow, and laceflower. Grow and distribute these among the plants in your garden to keep the number of bad guys down.

Be picky with your plants

There are plants these unwanted visitors hate because of the scent, and yet, these same plants will add beauty to your landscape design. Consider growing these plants know to bug the bugs: marigold, lavender, lemon grass, and petunias.

Create a Composting Area

Allot a space in your garden for a compost area, preferably in your backyard, as there will be heaps of organic debris which could become an eyesore. You could buy a ready-made compost bin or DIY with recycled wood.

All the organic waste like grass trimmings, vegetable and fruit peels, wood prunes, paper, and leaves will give you that divine, rich compost to make your plants healthy.  Use a garden fork to turn your compost each month to aerate it. You don’t want your neighbor knocking on your door complaining about a foul smell coming from your garden.

Think About Summer Flowering Bulbs and Seeds

Not all of your garden plants will survive the bitter cold of winter. There will be some dead plants that will leave bald patches in your garden.

Order your flowers like pansies, snowdrop anemone, iris, and hyacinth in winter and plant in early spring. Cheery uplifted blooms hanging from sturdy stalks are a welcome sight in March.

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