Preparing Your Garden for Spring

Whether you are getting ready to plant fruits and vegetables, or to have a beautiful flower garden, there are things that you must do in order to guarantee the best results for your garden this spring. The first step to make sure your garden will succeed is to ensure that ground is ready.

Two types of gardens

There are two possibilities with this type of project. First, that you have an existing garden that needs to be prepared for the growing season. If that is the case, it is important to remove all debris. Decayed plant material is perfect as natural plant food to be tilled into the ground to feed new, awakening plants. If you’ve got quite a lot of debris, remove it and place it on your compost heap, or find a service in your area that will turn it into mulch.

Second, if this is to be a new garden area, then make sure that there are no weeds present. Unlike old plant material that can be removed and recycled into the soil, weeds will continue to regenerate and choke out your garden. Tilling them into the ground won’t stop them from growing. So, it’s a case of doing some honest-to-goodness weeding to make sure that your soil is clear of invasive plants.

Time to till the soil

Preparing your garden for spring has to start with prepping the ground for the plants that you would like to have. The best place to start is by tilling the soil, and getting it ready for hungry root systems. Depending on the area that you are planting, you can either use a hand tiller or an industrial tiller to loosen the soil to allow those roots to reach the nutrients and moisture held in the bed. Softening the soil is an integral part of this process. This can be done by pre-watering the day before, or if your soil base is naturally soft then begin to till right away.

It is a good idea to have plant mix churned with the soil that you till so that the plants have a strong nutrient base for their transplantation. Make sure that you till down at least four inches, past the first layer of topsoil. This is to ensure that the earth is going to be receptive to the roots. Once you have tilled the ground, lightly pack it down for evenness as preparation for planting your garden. Depending on your plant choices, your plants can go into shock when being relocated, so having nutrient-rich soil can alleviate much of this problem. The choice of local plants for your garden that are used to your local soil base can reduce this problem even more.

Planting from flats, planting from seeds

Once the ground is ready to receive your plants, you can begin to place them in the area that you would like. This is a great time to take careful notes on the labels for the plants. Plant spacing is crucial for many plants, because if they are too close, their roots can actually choke one another, causing them to die or fail to thrive. If you’re planting off of a flat, you can just open up a hole about one inch wider than the plant base, place in some compost or last year’s plant debris, and plant. Then bury to about an inch from the top of the root base. This creates soil aeration, as well as room which lets the new plant breathe.

For planting from seeds, just make sure that the seed is covered by a layer of topsoil about an inch thick. This will insulate the seed and allow it to germinate properly. Once the seeds have been planted, make sure to place markers so that you can remember what was planted and where.

This is also a great exercise for children to see plants grow, a spring activity that brings the family together. Get your hands dirty together, and welcome the spring to your garden and outdoor living space.

Stephen Tar

Stephen Tar

Sales Representative
CENTURY 21 Leading Edge Realty Inc., Brokerage*
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