A welcoming outdoor living space is perfect for summer entertaining and enjoying the lovely temperatures the season brings. Whether you have a big backyard or a small condo balcony, you can incorporate some greenery for a cheerful environment. Bring your garden back to life after the winter weather with these easy-to-follow tips.
1. Prep for planting.
Start by cleaning and removing any debris, like leaves and fallen branches. Pull out weeds from the roots and check for areas that need reseeding before mowing the lawn. Survey walkways, fences and steps to see if there’s any damage that requires repairing. Send your lawn mower and leaf blower for servicing and clean all your tools.
2. Tend to the soil.
A home soil test kit can help you check your soil’s pH balance; be sure to take a few samples from different areas for an accurate reading. If the reading is too low, add some dolomitic lime; if it’s too high, elemental sulphur will do the trick. For the overall health of your garden, organic materials like compost and manure will enrich the soil with nutrients. Consider sprinkling a balanced fertilizer for an added boost.
3. Prune, trim and thin.
Be careful of doing this step too early — avoid an unexpected freeze by waiting until mid-April or May, depending on where you live and what the weather forecast says. Spring-blooming shrubs and trees should be pruned after flowering to avoid cutting off future buds. Summer-blooming plants should be trimmed and thinned in early spring.
4. Plant fresh flowers, shrubs and vegetables.
Add mulch to your flower beds and garden to keep in moisture and help prevent weeds and diseases. Choose perennials over annuals, as they last two to three years and can survive the winter frost. Some good spring flowers are pansies, lilacs and tulips. Now’s also the time to plant bare-root trees and shrubs, and sow seeds of vegetables like lettuce, parsley and spinach.
5. Nourish with upcycled household items.
Start a compost pile to use next year with a good mix of brown and green materials — you want a ratio of 30:1. Brown items are rich in carbon and include newspaper, dead leaves, eggshells, bread scraps, paper towels, cardboard, sawdust, hair and potting soil. Green items include nitrogen-rich coffee grounds, tea leaves, fresh plant and clippings, and kitchen scraps. Another top gardener secret is to use chamomile tea to control damping-off fungus.