So, you let your garden go…
Where to Begin?
Ok… winter is nearly over, new growth is beginning to show on the trees and your garden is a mess!
Maybe you aren’t familiar with a winter garden. Or maybe it’s just too cold to be outside digging around. Or maybe, like me, you were just too busy.
No matter the reason, it’s time to get our garden ready for spring. Here we going to help provide you the simple steps you need to begin planting your spring and summer garden. With a little planning, the right ingredients, and a little guidance, anyone can get their garden ready in just a few hours.
Step 1: A plan
Every successful garden begins with a great plan. Taking into account how much space we have, water, soil amendments, and sunlight we can determine how and where to plant our veggies. This critical step is where we determine the success or eventual failure of our spring and summer garden. At this point we will determine what we are going to plant and (maybe most importantly) what delicious food we will be eating in a few
short weeks! A little bit of extra work now saves us a lot of extra work later on in the season.
Step2: Clean & Repair
Now that we have a plan it’s time to get to work. Removing old plants, debris, leaves and anything else that’s built up over the winter is a must. Much of this material may be able to go into your composter to help feed your garden later in the year.
At this point, we also want to check our irrigation and be sure that nothing is broken and that water is flowing properly. If you discover any issues with your irrigation now is the time for repairs. We want to make sure that plants have proper access to water before we even think about putting anything in the ground.
Need some tips on irrigation repair? Check this out ->
Step 3: Soil
Okay, we got a plan, we have water, now we need to think about food. Plant food comes from two places; the Sun and the soil.
It’s Mother Nature’s job to provide the Sun however, we can make sure that our plants have plenty of food through the soil we provide.
Soil that has been composted regularly and religiously rarely needs any sort of extra help. But if you haven’t gotten into this process yet, fertilizers can help.
Each season before planting our Spring Garden we need to amend the soil with plenty of compost. Whether you’re composting at home or using bags from the store Compost is key. Place 2 – 3 in. of compost over the entire surface of your garden boxes.
Later, turn compost into the soil using either your hands or a small trowel so that those nutrients can begin to filter into your garden bed.
Step 4: Plant Choice and Placement
Okay, we are ready for plants!
Planting too many plants in one box leads to overcrowding and health problems once the plants start to grow. Those plants seem small and cute now but they’re going to grow up. Always check the labels for spacing requirements for your plants.
When transplanting, make sure your soil is wet and plant your transplants 1/2 inch below the level of your soil. This allows for the soil around the plants to settle over the coming days and ensure is that your transplants aren’t set too high. Be sure that your climbing plants such as tomatoes and sweet pea have the structures they need to keep themselves up off the ground.
Step 5: Now What? Spring Gardening
Congratulations! Your garden is planted and ready to grow. So, now what do we do? Now, we think about prevention. Our cute little transplants are at their most vulnerable when we first put them in the ground. Bugs, rodents, cold, disease and heat can all take a toll on our baby plants. Putting chicken wire cages around our transplants can help to protect them from rodents.
I like to spread diatomaceous earth on the soil around my transplants to help keep the pill bugs from eating them while we sleep. I know that my garden has a particular problem with caterpillars. Specifically cabbage loopers.
I will usually apply a small amount of BT, which is an organic product used to eliminate the caterpillars safely. taking these steps before you see a problem will help to ensure a healthy harvest and prevent the heartache of losing our plants to the critters.