Kickstart your spring gardening by tackling six easy gardening projects for early spring that will bring lots of rewards throughout the season. Your garden will thank you with brighter blooms, fuller plants, greener vegetables and fewer weeds. You’ll also reduce the need to water.
Inventory the Garden Shed
To get started, head out to the garden shed to make sure you have everything you need to work in the garden. You can really save time and frustration by taking stock of your tools and equipment before the gardening season starts. Is the lawn mower ready to roll? Do you have plenty of twine and stakes? What do you need to re-stock? When you know what you need, head out to the garden center so you’ll be all set to work in the garden on the first sunny day.
Clean the Garden
Now is the time to clear out winter’s debris and give the garden a boost before spring gets into full swing. The first order of business is a little pruning to remove broken, damaged and dead limbs from shrubs and trees. There are a few shrubs you don’t want to cut such as roses that only bloom once and spring flowering shrubs like azaleas. Wait to trim these until after they flower.
Cut back perennials and ornamental grass foliage left up over winter for the birds. A handy trick for cutting back grasses is to wrap the blades together with masking tape just above the cutting height then cut with hedge shears. This makes for easy disposal and eliminates raking.
Once the remnants of last year’s garden are cleared away it’s time to start working on the soil. Start by top dressing the beds with compost and apply organic fertilizer.
The last task in the garden is applying a 3-inch layer of mulch in the beds; then it’s on to the lawn.
Leave the Lawn Be
It may seem surprising, but spring isn’t’ the best time to feed your lawn. The nitrogen in lawn fertilizers will encourage top growth at the expense of root development. Deep roots make the plants less susceptible to summer heat, drought, diseases and pests. If you feel like the lawn could use an extra boost, wait until the soil temperature warms up, say mid-May, and use a slow release, organic product that feeds the soil instead of the grass. All you have to do in early spring is mow and apply an organic pre-emergent.
Fix trellises and fencing
Trellises and fencing are also easiest to repair in early spring, with less growth to work around and fewer roots to disturb. Setting new fence posts, however, is best done after the spring rains have had a chance to drain through the ground. If the water table is too high, postholes will fill with water as you try to dig.
Getting a head start on the season is important if you’re planning to grow heat-loving vegetables from seed like tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and basil. Sow seeds into starter mix divided in trays or you can use our 5 tier stackable planter to save space. Place in a sunny windowsill or under a grow light as soon as new shoots emerge.
Turn the seedlings to keep stems strong every day. Once the leaves develop, a weekly application of a half-strength liquid fertilizer will get the plants ready for the garden. Then all you have to do is wait for the last frost date to move them outdoors.
Protect seedlings from late frosts
Early spring plantings are vulnerable to hard frost, which can set in overnight. If you expect a hard frost, cover seedlings overnight with anything you have on hand: an overturned bucket or cardboard box (with a rock on top) or large flowerpot, a portable garden cloche, or a cold frame. If your garden has the space, and your budget allows, a starter greenhouse is ideal for starting seedlings early in the season and protecting them from inconsistent early spring weather.