Gardening season is right around the corner, so it's time to start your spring gardening chores! Even if the temperatures are still chilly, you can take some steps now to prepare for a great garden this year.
Build New Beds
If you are adding a new raised bed garden, now is the time to start planning and building. Check out this blog by the Farmer's Almanac for a step-by-step guide to building an easy DIY raised garden bed.
Before working your soil, be sure it isn't too wet. Soil that is too moist will be easily compacted and you will end up with hard clods later when it dries out. To check the moisture level, grab a handful of soil and form it into a ball. If it crumbles through your fingers, you are good to go. If it sticks together, it is too wet. Wait a few days and check it again.
Prep Your Beds
Remove weeds and debris and turn or loosen the soil with a rake or garden fork. Consider amending the soil with good quality compost. Compost is rich
in the nutrients your plants need and it also improves the soil structure. Spread 2 to 3 inches of compost over the planting bed and use a spade to work it into the top 10 to 12 inches of soil.
Fight Weeds Early
Take the time to pull, dig, or smother weeds before you plant. Make sure you do this before the weeds go to seed or you will be fighting an uphill battle all through the growing season.
To keep weeds at bay, spread 2 inches of mulch over the top your soil. Pine needles, straw, or shredded bark all make great mulches. Even a covering of mulched leaves or grass clippings will do wonders to suppress weeds and retain moisture around your new plants.
Jump start your garden by applying a good quality fertilizer. You can also use organic fertilizers such as kelp meal, bone meal, or fish emulsion. Worm castings are a wonderful organic fertilizer and are available on my website!
Make a Plan
Now is a great time to map out your garden and decide what plants you would like to grow. Plant vegetables that you and your family will enjoy eating. Make sure you allow enough room for each type of plant to get the light it needs and grow to full size. Order seedlings and seeds in advance so you are prepared when the weather is warm enough to plant.
Don't Forget About the Containers
Prep your pots and other containers by removing old soil, plants, and roots. You can spread the soil around other parts of the garden. Adding fresh potting soil every year or two will give your container plants and flowers the nutrients they need to thrive. Make sure all the containers have drainage holes that are free of rocks or debris.
I'll be back soon with more tips for planting and transplanting when the weather warms up. Be sure to get your plant orders in early to be sure your favorite varieties are available!