In a colder climate, it’s hard to wait for spring. Winter, though often beautiful (and, with winter sports, more than occasionally fun), can seem to drag on and on, with nary a green shoot in sight.
But spring always does come. (Really!) Are you ready? This year you will be – with these five easy, awesome head-start ideas.
1. Get Planning
Grab a great free layout/blueprint (Google or Bing for these – there are dozens) and start planning. Yes, right now. Having a plan for your garden and lawn this year will steer all your choices in the coming weeks, from what seedlings to start, to what might be on your dinner table menu in the summer and fall (and even for the holidays).
Play around with your ideas. Right now you do have time – though the weeks will go by before you know it. So don’t put off this step. It’s a great way to close those last few weeks until planting and growing time.
2. Make Structural Changes
Planning on installing an arbor, adding trellises, putting in a walkway? Now’s the time to get planning so you know how much you’ll need to spend, both in money and in time. Pinterest is a great source for ideas here.
Take the time to shop around for bargains, but go for quality as well. Always, always, always read reviews on garden products you plan on buying!
3. Give Your Garden the All-Clear
Winter can wreak havoc on your lawn and garden. It’s not the freeze and thaw that’s the problem (indeed, these changes in temperature and in moisture aid the earth in self-composting leaves and grass into fertile spring soil), it’s the debris that can accumulate here, there and everywhere.
On a nice day, grab your rake, some bags and a wheelbarrow and start your spring clean-up. Remove rocks (of course), larger twigs, and rake up leaves. Add these latter two to your compost pile, or recycle. If you have particularly rocky ground, and are the creative type, save the more decorative stones for a walkway or to partially line your garden.
4. Get Growing (Indoors)
Now is prime time to start seedlings. Make sure you time your plants so they’ll be ready to go into the ground when both the soil and the air are warm enough for the particular items you’ll be growing.
Try peat pots, which you can plant directly into the ground without disturbing the plants’ roots, or eggshells (crush these VERY gently just before planting – don’t harm the roots, but do give them a boost on cracks to grow out of once they’re in the ground).
5. Start a Compost Pile
We mentioned this above, but if you don’t have a compost pile yet, there’s still time to get one started either for late-spring planting or to use as fertilizer or as mulch throughout your garden’s growing season.
Mix wet (vegetable and fruit scraps, wet leaves – DO NOT use bone or animal scraps) with dry (newspaper, cardboard, dry twigs, laundry lint) materials. Layer these one after another in a compost bin, a large garbage can with holes drilled into the bottom for drainage and aeration, or simply in a contained corner of your yard. Mix with a pitchfork once a week. Invest in a good compost thermometer so you can make sure the temperature is ideal for growing the microbes that will generate the composting process. Even if you don’t have usable compost in time for planting, you can use mineral-rich compost all season long to feed and protect your plants and veggies.
Don’t wait – start now to get a jump on spring and your most gorgeous lawn and garden ever!
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f you’re new to gardening you might have some great idea of what gardening is in your head. But there are some cold hard truths about gardening that you should know and accept with all your heart if you wish to become a true-bloodied gardening aficionado.