Get your garden ready for planting with a little thought during winter or spring.
As soon as the cold is on its way out, there are a few things you can do to prepare your yard for a spring garden. These include raking and clearing leaves and other debris from your soil, as they can prevent flowers’ growth.
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Get you garden ready for planting.
Winter is the best time to ready your planting areas for your spring garden. Passionate gardeners often fill the winter months dreaming of the next growing season.
The removal of diseased plants in the fall prevents such diseases from overwintering in the soil, only to re-emerge the following growing season.
The soil is a gardens foundation.
Although many of us add it in spring, you want to add compost in late autumn to allow the soil to absorb those nutrients in winter.
Lime is commonly used to adjust the pH of the soil. Lime in autumn is beneficial because it dissolves into the soil all winter.
In winter, the mulch breaks down and adds more nutrients to the garden in the early spring months.
Gardening with Dave Allan: Brighten a sunny neuk or a damp corner with native wildflowers
Include native wild flowers in this year’s plans for the garden, using them almost anywhere, not just in grassy banks. After all, many of us don’t have a lawn, far less space for an attractive, eco-friendly tangle of grass and wild flowers.
Perennials survive all but the severest winters so are much easier to manage, but they can sometimes be hard to grow from seed, possibly needing a period of winter chilling before germinating. It’s often simplest to get plug plants from a nursery.
Remove all plants that won’t be overwintered, throw away any with disease or seeds, or that may be a problem in a compost pile; most diseases are fungal and produce spores.
Break tasks down over time and work through the garden one bed or area at a time until they are all cleaned and ready for winter.
Reduce weeds by mulching your garden beds.
Repair worn or damaged fences, gates, trellises and support structures and give them all a good cleaning if you plan to put them away for winter.
Winter is a great time to start the maintenance, preparation, planning and ordering of all supplies you need to start gardening in the early spring.
Getting started early for the spring.
Once the weather warms up, you can prepare your soil for spring gardening by clearing all the winter debris and using a fork to turn the soil over.
You can also fertilise your plants again when spring comes to give them the nutrients they need to start a great growing season.
The best soil is dark, loose, and crumbly.
A common gardening rule is to reduce about one-third of a plant or shrub’s oldest growth every spring to keep it healthy and thriving.
Many growing areas will see a short, cool-season in early spring, followed by a more extended warmer season in summer and then a short, cooler season in autumn.
Evergreen shrubs are usually moved in early spring before their new growth appears or in early fall to give them enough time to re-establish their roots before winter.
If you move them while dormant, there is much less stress on the plants, and they will return to action quickly.
A good general practice is to top the soil in the early spring with an inch or two of compost or well-rotted manure just before or when your bulbs are emerging.
Fall cover crops help spring gardens.
If you’ve had a mild winter, you might feel comfortable preparing your gardens earlier in the spring than in previous years.
Spring gardening is often rejuvenating, both for the garden and for the gardener, waiting to get back to the land.
Reasons for mulching your garden.
Revitalise your garden space by spreading new mulch around your garden beds to retain moisture, discourage weeds and increase their appearance.
When you mulch in autumn and double-dig in spring, it prepares a planting area ready to grow a fantastic garden while working with nature.
If it’s compostable, dig it into the soil.
Mulching can be essential because it reduces water loss from the soil, stabilises the soil temperature, suffocates annual weeds and reduces the germ of weed seeds.
If you know, you will be working with plants that have already been started from seed. It is easy to mulch first and then add your plants if they are warm enough.
Remember to prepare garden soil by mulching first. This will make it much easier to do double-digging in spring.
— The English Garden (@TEGmagazine) February 28, 2021
Mulch does not stop the rain, but the rain cannot turn the beds into a muddy mess, and it slowly feeds the soil.
When mulch is applied well, it acts like a blanket that insulates the plants from weeds, especially when you can lay it before the weeds grow.
If you have to add more, straw is an excellent mulch for vegetable gardens because it is quickly scattered and moved.
Plants have distinct growing seasons.
If you plant seeds, you should approach them a little differently by removing the mulch that covers the garden bed before planting.
If you add mulch to garden beds or around the base of fruit trees, keep the mulch a few inches away from tree trunks, crowns, and plants’ stems.
Don’t forget the benefits of organic material.
A good reason for a compost pile is that a large garden produces enormous amounts of organic waste to clean up, and many gardeners want to keep things simple.
Starting a compost heap also saves you money over the purchase of organic fertilisers, and it provides a landfill where you can dispose of any garden and kitchen waste.
Gardening is about timing.
This organic matter can be composted to produce a nutrient-rich fertiliser that will allow your garden to thrive during the growing season.
Prepare new beds for perennial flowers by spreading a six-inch thick layer of organic matter, peat moss, compost or rotted manure and working in deep.
This adds valuable organic material to your soil and adds plant-loving nitrogen to the soil when the material breaks down.
- Add a few inches of compost or manure before the soil freezes.
- At the least, replenish the soil by working in a little compost.
- Dig generous amounts of compost into your raised beds or gardens.
- Tilling and adding compost give you a start to a better growing season.
- Plants in deep, rich soil are less likely to suffer from summer droughts.
- Look for any growth that appears unhealthy or dead and remove those stems.
Add 25-30% organic matter to the soil’s total volume, which is likely to be a few inches organic.
Earthworms and other garden animals will do the job of working these organic materials into the soil for you. Worms feed on organic materials and then help to aerate the soil by moving through it.
The compost supplies the soil with a fresh infusion of nutrient-rich organic matter and improves its ability to handle water and feed its crops.
Pull weeds when you see them.
Even if you start in spring, it is still good to prepare the soil and mix organic matter and fertiliser to provide the optimal seedbed.
Whether you prepare new beds in the fall or change existing beds, the basic idea is to integrate a lot of organic matter into the soil.