The Beginners Guide to Spring Gardening
It’s time to start creating a plan for your spring garden. As the snow melts away, it’s always fun to think about how you can improve your garden this year or create one for the first time! It can be hard to know where to start if you're new to gardening. For those looking to max out on their garden the first time around, here’s a checklist to work through so you can make sure you’re happy come harvest time.
Step 1: Make sure your garden is clean and reading for planting
Before worrying about what you’ll plant this spring, make sure you’ve correctly cleaned out your beds. You may find that your garden became covered in dead foliage and overgrown branches over the course of winter. A good pair of pruners always helps clear out unwanted debris. Also, make sure hardscaping like stepping stones, gravel, and wood structures are arranged properly to not interfere with your plants. Once you’ve cleared all this debris out of the way, getting your spring garden underway will feel a lot more manageable.
Step 2: Make sure your soil is healthy
You can work really hard on planting the right vegetables and ornamentals, but if your soil isn’t healthy, you’re only going to get so far. Loosen up the soil so your plants aren’t trying to grow in hard, dry ground. Adding mulch and compost will also make your beds more nutrient-rich and able to retain more water.
Step 3: Planting
It’s time to choose what veggies you want to see in your garden come later summer and fall! You’ve got all kinds of delicious options; just make sure you’re planting them at the right time. Early spring is the time to start planting cold-season vegetables like kale or potatoes. You’ll wait until late spring for tomatoes, peppers, and squash. You’ll be planting after the final frost, but each plant has its own season, so make sure you are aware of the ideal time to plant each one.
Step 4: Maintenance through spring
As your plants begin to bloom, keep an eye on your garden and make sure you’re pruning, watering, and mulching as the weather gets warmer. It also helps to start a composting pile with leftover plant waste from your garden, which can later be used as fertilizer. There are also many different specialty fertilizers you can use to give your plants the nutrients they need.
Step 5: Prepare for Harvest
Every plant is growing on its own timetable, so you’ll be harvesting different parts of your garden throughout the season. Tomatoes, for example, can take up to 100 days to harvest, while radishes take only a few weeks. So when your cold-season foods are full-grown, you may want to go ahead and plant some warm-season edibles before summer!
Work through this checklist periodically throughout the season, and your garden will benefit from the consistent care. Many of these are not one-time tasks; pruning, mulching and composting are most beneficial when you’re keeping an eye on your garden and maintaining it over the course of the spring and early summer. Your veggies will taste that much better for it.