Get Ready, Get Set – Garden! Your 7-Step Spring Gardening Checklist
Spring is just around the corner.
No, really. It is. It may feel (and, by the calendar, may well be) the middle of winter, but before you know it, you’ll wake up to that first sunny day…and realize gardening season caught up with you.
Don’t get caught out! This year, be ready for the change of seasons with these 7 super-easy, low-cost spring gardening steps:
1. Start seedlings indoors. You can get a jump-start on your garden by starting fruits and veggies with longer growing seasons four to eight weeks before you’ll be ready to transplant them. (Check with the specific planting directions to find out how far out you need to mark your calendar for transplantation day.) Nearly all seedlings will require a lot of sun (even those that, as more mature plants, can grow in partial shade), so either find a sunny windowsill that won’t get too chilly or invest in a grow light to nurture your babies during this critical time.
2. Make compost. If you’re starting your preparations at least six weeks before you’ll be planting, there’s still time to get some great compost cookin’! Composting is easy. It will happen faster if you keep the compost pile to a slightly warm temperature. Compost brown (dry: cardboard, dry grass, dry leaves) and green (wet: eggshells, fruit/vegetable peelings) materials together and turn with a pitchfork periodically. Keep covered to maintain warmth and keep pests out. In one to three months your nutrient-rich compost will be ready.
3. Plan your garden bed(s). Sometimes, we gardeners can get a bit overly optimistic about just how much we can stuff into one little garden bed. Plan out – on paper – what you’ll be planting, including the necessary spacing between each plant and each group. Which brings us to…
4. Select your seeds. If you haven’t already (see “Start seedlings indoors” above), buy seeds now. You have a plan for what you’ll want to grow, so seed selection should be easy.
5. Find out the ideal dates to plant. Consult your Growth Zone to find out when final frost is, and the Farmer’s Almanac to determine approximately when you’ll be able to plant your various choices. Mark your calendar (or put an alert for each on your phone or your Outlook app).
6. Clear things out. If winter storms have brought a lot of debris, now is the time to choose a sunny/warmer than usual day to grab a rake and clear out your garden beds. (Tip: add raked leaves and twigs to your compost pile.)
7. Make sure you have workable, reliable garden tools. Go through your tool stash. Sharpen dull blades and make sure they’re appropriately oiled. If any are beyond use, replace them now so you can take the time to choose the best tools (at the best buy) for your needs. That’s it! You have all the basics down for a head start on a prolific growing season – and you won’t feel rushed or be left stuck without the right seeds, tools or with a huge cleanup job to do at the last minute. Happy growing!
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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.