Late March all the way through April seems to be the busiest months out of the gardening year! In March, you’re planting your seeds, planning your garden space, cleaning up your tools, and getting ready to plant – or at least dreaming of planting. Those in the South or Southwest should be ready to plant or have their early Spring garden already in the ground. Don’t worry, it’s not too late! Those in the Midwest or Northern states are impatiently waiting for the snow to melt and the ground to warm up. It is the perfect time to sow seeds indoors so your plants are big and healthy when it is time to transplant into the garden. Here are a few tips and tricks and what to do in the spring garden to have a successful harvest in your vegetable garden and beautiful blooms in your flower garden.
This is the perfect time to get everything ready to grow!
Disclosure: This post not only shares gardening tips, but also has Affiliate Links that I earn commissions from. This is how I make a living and keep this little blog running. Thank you for supporting me! I appreciate it. I received this vehicle to test drive in exchange for an unbiased review. ~ Kristi.
How to Get Your Garden Ready for Spring
Clean it Up
Cleaning might not be the most glamorous garden job, but is one that is absolutely needed. Start with clean tools before and after working on the spring garden. Simply mix a solution in a spray bottle of 1 cup of vinegar, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, and fill the rest up with water and clean up and wipe down any shovels, rakes, and hand tools that you use. I also do this every month of the gardening season and especially if the garden has a problem with fungal diseases or pests.
While everything is still dormant or just starting to sprout, pull up any weeds – rootball and all, rake up dead leaves and limbs, and cut off any dead or diseased parts to any of your perennial plants. As long as it isn’t diseased, toss all of that into your compost pile. Burn the plant it if was diseased, especially if it had a fungal disease.
Do this clean up in your raised beds, flower beds, vegetable garden, and in your container gardens.
Prep the Soil
If you have the time, plan to prep the soil two weeks before you want to start planting. In already existing gardening beds, add compost to raise the soil level back up to the top. Also add in soil amendments such as Earthworm Castings, plus Blood and Bone Meal. Use either a hoe or a small rototiller and till this into the existing soil. Water it down really well and till it again the next day and water it down again. Let it rest for at least 48 hours before planting.
–>> Side Note: If your bed has a ton of weeds DO NOT till it. This cuts the weed’s roots and makes more roots that will then grown more weeds. Before adding the compost, use a pitchfork and lift up the soil and remove the weed roots. This is a painstaking task, but if you can do it, you will have far fewer weeds this year.
Personally, in my community garden space it is filled with weeds. I spend a week just pulling up weeds and their roots. I then come back every day for a week and do the process all over again. In the one area where I did this religiously – very few weeds and stray grasses grew. In the other part of the plot where I was tired and gave him – it was Weed City. Sigh. Lesson learned.
When prepping a new bed, it is very similar. Mix organic compost with organic potting soil, vermiculite or perlite, and then add in organic soil amendments. You can easily use a hoe for this unless you have a large garden bed, then you might want power tools. Water it down and let it rest so the microbial life can start occurring before you begin planting.
Now you are ready to grab your seeds and transplants and plant your spring garden!
Let’s Talk Soil Amendments
What are soil amendments and why do you need them? It’s simple really. While your plants are growing, they are pulling nutrients up and out of the soil. You need to replenish those nutrients all summer long so your plants have something to eat for energy to then in turn give you delicious and nutritious vegetables, herbs, and fruits.
Compost is more than just manure these days! In yesteryears, compost was aged manure. These days you can make it at home or buy it at the garden center. Most compost has had plant scraps, food waste, and animal waste added to it. Compost piles get so hot because the microbial activity is through the roof. What’s left is a mixture filled with everything your garden loves. Adding bags of compost to your garden beds and working it into the soil helps your garden all year long.
By far, my favorite soil amendment is Earthworm Castings. This is earthworm poop with a fancy name. It is like Miracle Gro for your plants without all the nasty chemicals. Seriously. it’s super food for your plants. Apply it generously, your plants will only use what they need. As the summer goes on, add a few cups every few weeks and side dress your plants – or simply add it next to your plants and water it in. The plants will take it from there!
Earthworm Castings – Full of wonderful nutrients for your garden!
Bone Meal & Blood Meal
Bone Meal helps in root production and blood meal helps in setting fruit and growing lush leaves, which is especially good for the lettuce family. With these two, you don’t need a ton. For a 4×4 gardening bed, add 1 cup of each and mix in. For a gallon-size container, a tablespoon of each will work. One word of caution – dogs and cats love the smell of these two. You can crumble up eggshells and scatter them on top to help prevent your four-legged friends from trampling through your garden beds. Plus the eggshells are a great source of Calcium for your growing plants.
All of the cleaning and prepping needs to be done whether you are planting a vegetable or flower garden. If you do it, be prepared for a year a of beautiful blooms!
What to do in the Flower Garden
- Prune flowering shrubs after they have finished blooming.
- Prune roses before bud break. If you’re running late, do this right away, don’t delay.
- Plant and divide perennials before they start growing this season.
- Give bulbs some food once they finish blooming and allow the foliage to remain until it begins to turn yellow.
- Start seeds for warm season flowers and if in colder climates, have your cool season flowers growing.
- Lightly shear your needled evergreens, being careful not to cut back to bare wood.
What to do in the Vegetable & Fruit Garden
- For Fall-planted Garlic and over-wintered Onions, it is time to hit them with a Nitrogen blast of either Bat Guano, Fish Emulsion, or Earthworm Castings.
- Sow early Spring greens such as Lettuce, Kale, Spinach, and Arugula for a quick and early harvest.
- Plant Asparagus Crowns to enjoy year-after-year, these typically won’t produce much until their second year.
- Spring pruning of fruit trees is best done early.
- Plant rhubarb and berry bushes.
- Begin hardening off cool season seedlings to transplant into the garden.
- In the South and Southwest, plant out warm weather vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, zucchini and squash, cucumbers and melons, plus warm loving herbs like basil, thyme, rosemary, and oregano.
Seed Plant Bloom
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