4 Ways to Get Ready for Spring Gardening (Right Now)
The weather outside may be frightful, but these four ideas are delightful - and easy. Get a jump start on spring and have your most gorgeous garden ever with these simple steps.
1. Create Some Compost
Get crafty - make compost! Made of all-natural materials, compost is easy to make and will feed your growing garden. We have full tutorial here, or get started with these basics:
- You can buy a compost bin, but if you'd like to be frugal, simply take a large-size outdoor garbage can and drill holes in the bottom for drainage. Seriously - that's all you need!
- Place food scraps and lawn clippings bit by bit into the bin. Make sure you alternate "wet" with "dry" materials. (Check this article for a list.)
- Turn your compost materials about once a week with a pitchfork or stir them with a stick.
- Make sure your compost is at the right temperature for microbes to break down the materials.
- Most compost should be ready to use in 6-8 weeks. You can speed things up by making sure the heap stays relatively warm, but not hot.
2. Get Your Shed in Ship Shape
On a nice, non-snowy day, go out to your shed and start cleaning up.
- If you haven't been in your shed since late autumn, critters may have been busily exploring. Sweep up and remove any debris that may have made its way in to make things less homey for pests.
- How are your gardening tools doing? Oil and sharpen what's still in good working order. If you have rusted or just plain old and less useful tools, restock. (See below.)
- Stock up on the basics. Bag compost or buy organic soil so you have it on hand as soon as you're ready to get digging. Shop sales for clay pots, organic fertilizer (if you don't make your own), spray bottles and a good, sturdy garden hose.
- If your weather is already turning fair, and depending upon your growing zone, put seedlings into your shed. Make sure they have plenty of sunlight and check nighttime temperatures regularly. If things really drop down, bring the pots indoors.
- Make improvements. Put up a board to hang tools on, re-face your shed to make it gorgeous, and more - we have tips here.
3. New Tools? Cool!
If you're ready to retire Old Bessie, the shovel with the handle that loves to unscrew while you're digging, don't despair. Even the most well-made tools tend to wear out over time.
Make sure you buy tools that are ergonomically shaped to go easy on your wrists, hands and knees.
If you have trouble kneeling for long periods, consider investing in a great garden cart or knee pads. Also be sure you have a sturdy, protective pair of gloves so you're protected while you welcome spring in your garden.
4. Plan for a Beautiful Spring
Full disclosure: I don't always love planning, so if you're groaning at this last recommendation, know you're not alone.
On the other hand, planning can be an enjoyable part of the gardening process if you make choices you absolutely love. Try these ideas:
- Find a free garden layout app. These can be FUN, and you'll get some awesome ideas on what to do with the space you have.
- Go seed shopping. Have colors, sizes (including what you'd like your borders to look like) and favorite veggies (if you'll be growing a vegetable garden) in mind. Then check out your favorite seed catalog online and hone things down based on these factors. You'll find that certain choices seem to jump out at you. Be careful, though - it's so easy to get over-enthusiastic and buy WAY too much. Remember your space and keep in mind how much root area your choices will need.
- Drive around. As spring nears, some of your neighbors may be getting an early start on things. You can get great ideas on what looks amazing with certain home styles and outdoor areas.
- Grab a gardening friend. If know someone who loves to garden and he or she lives locally, swap a day's labor. Help him this Saturday and have him over next Sunday to get your garden going and growing. You'll be able to swap ideas, chores, and the pure joy of gardening.
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