Spring is right around the corner, and gardeners are now starting to clean garden tools, tend their soil, and grow seedlings indoors to prepare for spring planting. If you’re new to gardening – this guide is here to help. Follow the steps and enjoy a more productive edible garden this year.
1. Try a Raised Bed
Raised garden beds are excellent for growing small plots of veggies and flowers. It keeps your garden soil from washing away during heavy rains. In addition to that, it prevents soil compression, provides good drainage, and serves as a barrier from pests like slugs and snails.
Raised garden beds are especially helpful for older gardeners with bad backs. It helps reduce back strain from bending over to tend the bed. It will give you easy access to your garden if you have mobility problems, and make your garden visually appealing too.
With a well-built raised bed, you can sit on the edge of the bed while weeding. It could be a big help while you are gardening.
Raised beds are different from garden planters. Planter containers have bottoms to prevent the soil from falling out. On the other hand, raised beds are open to the ground. It enables the plant roots to go further into the ground for more nutrients.
2. Enrich Your Soil With Compost
As the author and respected gardener, Frank Tozer writes, “When building soil you not only improve your plant’s health, but you can also improve your own.”
Garden soil in good shape needs fewer fertilizers or pesticides. It is rich in nutrients from decaying materials such as leaves, grass clippings, and compost.
Healthy soil makes plants healthy. It can retain moisture but drains well. It is also loose, fluffy, and filled with minerals essential for your plants’ healthy growth.
It is composed of earthworms and good bacteria to help maintain the quality of your soil. The right pH level is also an essential trait of healthy soil.
The backyard compost is best. But, there are lots of organic commercial products also available in bulk. Ask some local gardeners near you for recommendations of the best choices.
Adding organic compost and well-rotted manure is the best way to prepare the soil for planting. Using mulch or growing cover crops can be a big help too.
3. Pre-Warm Your Garden Bed
Pre-warming your soil requires a little planning. You need to have the right kind of soil and moisture levels.
But of course, that won’t be enough in preparing your garden for the coming spring. Use plastic mulch to heat your soil correctly. Cover the dirt and leave it for about six weeks.
Warming up your soil in early spring can make you start vegetable planting early and get a harvest sooner. Starting earlier will give you more time to start growing your warmer-weather plants.
Here are a few simple steps needed to pre-warm your soil:
- Prepare your seedbed with good garden soil. Add organic fertilizer at the same time when necessary.
- Cover with plastic sheets. Black plastics are reasonably effective in warming up a garden bed.
- Leave covered bed until sowing. Usually, it takes about six weeks to warm up the soil when covered in winter, while four weeks is sufficient enough when you do it a little bit later.
- After six weeks, remove the cover and eliminate new growth weeds.
- Start planting. You can now begin your vegetable gardening.
Plastic films can blow away if not securely fitted, hence, discarding any warming effect. To avoid this problem, tuck the plastic sheet into the soil with your garden spade, or pin down the edge of your garden bed with rocks.
Weed seeds in the soil may start to sprout as well – so pull out the new growth before planting.
4. Start With Fresh, Quality Seed
Almost everyone is excited about getting outside to start a garden. One of the things you might think is to run to your local nursery store near you.
Buying plants might seem the easiest way to start a garden. However, raising your vegetable plants from seeds is a lot easier, cheaper, and beneficial to your physical and mental well-being.
Fresh seeds germinate almost 100%, giving you the best return for your hard work. To make sure you have fresh seeds for your new garden, don’t forget to check for the year stamped on every seed packet you buy.
If you saved some seeds from your previous gardening activity or have been given seeds by a friend, always germinate-test in advance to see if these seeds can germinate.
Along with fresh seeds, prepping your soil with compost, and starting to germinate your young plants can get you the most out of your garden.
5. Clean-Out and Disinfect Your Greenhouse
Now’s the time to give your greenhouse a makeover and make it ready for your vegetable planting.
Here’s a guide to help:
- Use detergent or disinfectant to wash outside of your greenhouse. Doing this will eliminate all those clinging algae and moss blocking the sunlight during the growing months.
- Disinfect inside of the glass too. It will eradicate pests and diseases. Pests and plant diseases can survive even in the smallest nooks and crannies.
- Wash pots and seed trays before reusing. Dirty pots may contain bugs and bacteria that could spoil your hard work.
- Ventilate your greenhouse well over the next few days, so it dries thoroughly.
- Take time to inspect the greenhouse structure for any damage and replace any broken parts.
6. Hunt Down and Eradicate Any Garden Pests
Take time to hunt down and eliminate bugs and insects in your garden. This is to ensure your vegetable plants are free from damages.
Check for any slugs, snails, and aphids thriving for the winter. Destroy any worms you find and be prepared to treat your garden by using parasitic nematodes or chemical drenches.
7. Install Water Butt and Start Collecting Rainwater
Installing a water butt in your garden is a big help. Harvesting rainwater is essential for budget-friendly gardening.
Since tap water is slightly alkalic due to chemical treatment, it isn’t as soft and whole as rainwater. Rainwater is still the best type of water for plants. Peak demand for water in warmer months will also cost you a lot.
Installing your water butt is not really hard. You can position it underneath a downpipe from your home. If you’ve got a closed drainpipe, you can use a diverter kit to siphon off your rainwater.
8. Fix Damaged Fences, Gates, and Trellises
Check your fence panels, gates, and trellises for any sign of damage. Fixing and replacing broken structures now will give you more time to spend in your garden during the spring.
Also, clean fence panels and gates with a detergent or any power washer to remove dirt and molds. Use a brush to help lift stubborn grime. Let the fence dry completely. Applying two coats of paint or wood preservative is also a great idea.
9. Clean, Sharpen, and Disinfect Garden Tools
Maintaining your garden tools will help preserve them and save you money in the long run. It will also help prevent the spread of disease. Dirty clippers are known for introducing bacteria to fresh pruning wounds.
Give bladed tools a thorough cleaning by using detergent and scourers. Also, sharpen them and apply some oil to their blades and hinges to improve their performance.
10. Create a Composting Area
Now is also a great time to set up a compost area in your garden. You can build your own or buy a readily available compost in the local store near you.
Dump all of your organic waste like vegetable peelings or grass clippings into your compost area. Using your garden fork, you’ll need to turn your compost every month to help the process along. Once the compost has broken down, you can toss it around your vegetable plants and expect a bounty harvest.
Final Thoughts on Prepping Your Veggie Garden for Spring
As you can see, preparing for a vegetable garden for the coming spring is not that hard. Taking the time to prepare for your garden will set you up for a more productive year. So, why not give it a try!
Are there any other useful and practical ways you may know to prepare a vegetable garden for spring? Please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts in the comments below so I can add it to this list.