A Spring Gardening Checklist
The first step to a success gardening season comes with the preparation needed to get your garden ready. How many of us have enthusiastically jumped full swing into the garden scene in mid May, only to be abandoning our efforts by early July with the vow to do it differently next season? Then interestingly we find ourselves in the same situation the following year, wondering how did that happen to me again!
Well why not keep that promise to yourself and start this year off with some organization and planning? Use the checklist guide below to get yourself moving in the right direction. Oh, and by the way….Happy Gardening!
VERY EARLY SPRING
Dream Up Your Vision for This Year’s Garden
1. Get out the pad, pencil and sketch book. Start to record your thoughts, drawings, doodles, pictures, and ideas. This step is vital. It becomes the magic that enables you to move your ideas out of the mental state and into physical form.
2. What do you want in your outdoor garden space? Ask yourself will it be flowers, veggies, herbs, furniture, decorations or a combination of all?
3. What will be its purpose? Determine what it is you want from your garden experience…Here are some questions to ask: Is my garden’s purpose: To grow food? Grow flowers? To be a place of sanctuary? To be your stress reduction therapy? Or maybe your free exercise membership program? Foster a deeper connection with nature? Once you know the answer, it helps you to better formulate your plans.
4. What do you imagine your garden will look like? Look through books, magazines, the internet. Start to create in your mind what you see as manifesting in this season’s garden. Record that information in some way that is useable for you. As you plan, you can incorporate these images into your design.
5. Organize your resources. What will you need to get this vision out of your idea book and into 3D form? Start researching suppliers for materials. Order/purchase what you will need to have on hand at a later date. Check out local gardening groups that may be helpful. Checkout online garden forums. There are many free easy resources available to us that are just moments away from discovery. Take full advantage.
1. Cleanup: Go through your space where you will be gardening and start to clean up old debris from a previous season. I’m sure you don’t like to eat off of dirty plates, so too, don’t start your gardening season in a debris filled area.
2. Pruning:Prune any fruit trees if you didn’t do so in the winter, this needs to be done before they blossom. Prune any low hanging branches from trees that may be a safety hazard.
3. Start indoor seeds: Now is the time to get some of those early seeds planted indoors. Not sure which seeds to start indoors? Do an online search for a quick answer.
4. Prepare your equipment: Be sure to check the lawnmower, trimmers, the tiller, the tools, etc to make sure anything you plan to use is in good working order. Nothing is more aggravating than taking out a piece of equipment to use, only to find out plans are delayed because you delayed planning.
5. Sharpen tools: Your hand tools work best when they are cleaned and sharpened. You can thank yourself later on when you notice you are able to work more efficiently, effectively and productively, because you took the time to prepare.
6. Clean out the shed if you have one: When you open the door to your garden shed, can you walk in? If not, now is the time to clear out the old, clean up and reorganize. It is amazing how much money you can save by finding something in the shed you have forgotten you had and therefore don’t need to go out and purchase.
This is also the time to cleanup any pots that will be used later. You might get creative and paint some of the old pots to give them a nice facelift.
Still harboring old chemicals from the days before you knew any better? Time to organize them and figure out where and how to properly dispose of them.
Will you be needing any trellis’ or garden growing walls or supports? Shift through your things, you may find a treasure trove of items that can be used to assemble or make some attractive supports for the garden. I once used an old metal, over the door, shoe rack as a trellis for morning glories. It is a thrill to me to use something unusual in the garden to solve a problem from a wacky perspective.
1. Spring planting:The hardy veggies can be planted at this….see a list of what can be planted in your area. Where I live, it is a good time to put in the potatoes, onions, peas, broccoli, lettuce, collards, and mustard greens to name a few
2. Separate you plants: Now is the time to separate those perennials that are growing too big and would benefit from being separated. Plant them elsewhere or give them away to other gardening friends.
3. Build your beds: Putting in raised bed? Digging new flower gardens? Adding an herb area? Now is the time to get these beds ready and then start to amend your soil.
4. Prepare older beds: For those beds that have already seen prior action, take the time now to get them amended as well. The more you do in preparation of the soil, the healthier your plants will be.
5. Mulching: Mulching now saves on weeding later. Nothing takes the fun out of gardening faster than seeing your beds overrun with armies of weeds. Don’t let yourself get to that place of total frustration where you feel you can never get control.
6. Work your compost: Has your compost pile been laying dormant during the winter. Now that spring has arrived you can begin to work that compost pile back into full production. Composting is a science in itself. Check out other online resources that will help you in this area. Again, healthy soil leads to happy, healthy plants. Composting is part of that formula.
1. Shrub Pruning: For most flowering spring shrubs, wait until after they have bloomed to prune them.
2. Plant: After the danger of the last frost in your region, plant your annuals in the garden. I know we get itchy and want to get those beautiful plants into the ground, but if you do so too soon, their beauty quickly fades as death grabs a strangle hold upon them. Patience is one of the lessons the garden tries to teach us.
3. Take pictures: Keep a photographic record of what you are creating. It is fun to go back and see what has transpired over time. A pictorial journal is also a good way to keep a year to year record. Save some time next season by remembering what worked and what didn’t during this current season when you look back over your garden photos.
4. Enjoy Mother Nature: Regardless of the season, take some time to enjoy the beauty of the current season. Sit up, take notice and breathe in the joyful treasures we are gifted with when we connect with our Earth Mother. So as we started, so too we end, Happy Gardening!
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