Preparing Your Garden for Planting
Gardening Preparation in the Spring
When the days are becoming a little longer and the cold weather is beginning to break it can mean only one thing: spring is approaching. Seasoned gardeners know that they must prepare their soil and plants well before the warm weather takes over, so here is a look at some gardening preparation tips and ideas that will ensure a great harvest no matter what you plan on growing this year.
Begin Plotting Your Land
Plotting the land will help you get an idea of exactly what supplies you will need, when it is time to put seeds in the ground, and an overall timeframe for the coming months. For most, this can be done with nothing more than a pen, paper, and a few minutes out near the garden. The more tech-savvy gardeners can use plotting apps or programs to help them accommodate for row distancing and the distribution of seeds.
Assessing Your Space
Once you have a general idea on how the space will be used it is time to take a thorough look at how your land has held up to the winter months. Even a well-maintained garden could have been dramatically altered by heavy rains or a late freeze, and some of the repairs or changes to the land may take at least a few weeks. One important step in this process is to make a list of absolute essentials such as supplies to repair fences, mulch, replacement tools, and replacement dividers if any have become rotten.
Weeding and Exterminating
You may have grand gardening ideas for the coming year, but you will be setting yourself up for failure if you skimp on the soil prep. If there are only a handful of weeds or rocks in your garden you can often remove them with nothing more than a spade or even your hands. If the plot of land has been taken over by a large amount of debris you may want to invest in a rototiller to turn the top of the soil over and then sift out the unwanted material. It is also a good idea to keep an eye out for any roots growing under the soil or runner grass that could be soaking up nutrients. Any living material that has been removed can be transported to the compost pile.
If you had any problems with diseases from the last growing season don’t put any of this live material into your compost pile. As you clear the land and any new seeds pop up, remove the seedlings and throw them away. Do not risk using any material that has come into contact with old diseases such as blight.
Finalize Your Irrigation System
Having an efficient irrigation system can mean the difference between a successful garden and a time sink. If the watering system you were using from the previous year worked well, all you need to do is take inventory of any hoses, spouts, or barrels that need to be replaced. If the irrigation system was ineffective in recent years, try a new approach or seek out some professional help. Soil that is perfectly watered and aerated will promote the growth of healthy plants while cutting down on water bills.
The final step before planting those seeds or sprouting the seedlings is to consider this year’s strategy on pest control. This is one time in which there is no single answer that will be right for every gardener. Consider some of the local pests that you have dealt with in recent years and then ask a specialist on the best control and prevention methods. Primarily, you want to limit their ability to acquire food, water, and shelter. Just as important as preventing unwanted pests is attracting beneficial insects such as ladybugs and assassin insects with pollen-rich plants such as dill and fennel.
With all of this prep work out of the way your garden should be just about ready for spring. You can once again enjoy the warm weather with a newly organized garden that is sure to produce a bountiful harvest in the coming months.