Everyone knows that springtime is the gardener’s season. It’s that time of the year when the last snow has finally melted, the birds are singing their songs and preparing their nests, and the bright sun has woken from its slumber. The sign of spring also signals a new beginning: the start of your very own garden.
Cold seasons are undeniably harsh for us garden enthusiasts. The temperatures reduce our once growing plants into dry twigs or shrubbery. This is why springtime is always welcomed with rejoicing. It’s an opportunity for us to build up our gardens again. As always, the preparation for a springtime garden is coupled with several questions.
Among the long checklist of what to do, you’ll probably ask yourself, “What is the first thing I should do?”
Getting your garden ready for the season comes in three easy steps: coming up with your plan; acquiring the tools you need; and getting to know the tips and tricks on how to get the perfect look for your garden.
How To Come Up With Your Gardening Plan
Before you get started on anything else, you need to think of a plan. This well-thought out plan will be the blueprint for your garden. This will determine what you will plant, how much of the budget it will need, and will also help prevent you from making common gardening mistakes.
To come up with a plan for your springtime garden, we have provided some critical questions to guide you:
What are you going to plant in your garden?
The first thing that you should determine is the kind of plants that you will be growing in your garden. It can be anything you like – vegetables, flowers, shrubs, or trees, as long as it is growing within the season. It’s also essential to know this first thing, as this will help you determine the overall cost for your garden and the materials or tools that you will be needing.
What is your set budget?
The next thing on the list would be to consider your budget. You should set out your priorities and figure out which part needs the most or least of the funds. Will you focus more on purchasing new seeds, or will you use the extra money to stock up on fertilizers? It’s your call. Don’t worry though, as it is still possible to have a beautiful garden with a limited budget.
Are you considering asking for professional help?
If you have room for it in the budgeting, it’s perfectly fine to consult professional landscaping services for advice. This is especially helpful if you’re growing your garden for the first time. These seasoned experts will be able to give you information and help prevent you from making beginner mistakes.
How do you see your garden in your mind?
Close your eyes and picture your future garden in your mind. What does it look like? Creating your garden’s visual will help you design it. You can also create the aesthetic feeling that you’re going for by compiling pictures on a mood board. The images can be of anything that you like – colors, furniture, or flowers.
Would you prefer a small or big garden?
Another question to keep in mind is the size of your garden. Would you only be using a quarter of an area in your backyard, or will you be going all out and using the entire space? Whichever decision you go with, that’s completely fine. Your springtime garden should be the size that feels right for you.
Do you have pets in your household?
We all love our pets, but they can be curious when it comes to the objects settling in our backyard. If you happen to have an adventurous cat or dog, it’s essential to consider whether you should be fencing off your garden area. If curious pets have complete access to your plants, they can dig them up, urinate on them, and sometimes even eat them. This can be dangerous for your pet, as not every plant sits well with an animal’s stomach.
Do you have children in your household?
If you have children in your household, that is also another factor to be considered. Kids love playing in the backyard, and they can unknowingly step into your garden and trample on your seedlings. This can also be a hazard, especially if you are tending to your yard and have tools placed outside. You can always inform your children, but it’s best to have a temporary fence to keep them outside the area.
Have you considered your location’s climate?
Do you live in an area with extremely long dry spells? Or does your town experience heavy showers? You need to consider climate before planting anything in your ground. Choose the perfect timing and weather for when to start your garden. If springtime ends and the summer days start rolling in, you may need to come up with a solution to keep your grounds rehydrated.
The Tools That You Will Need For Your Garden
After forming up your gardening plan, now it’s time for step two, which is getting the tools that you will need for your yard. You don’t need to have every device in your shed, but it does lessen the hassle of going back and forth to the gardening store to get what you need.
To be prepared, we came up with a list of handy gardening tools that you will most probably need:
A pair of garden gloves should be the first thing that you purchase. Garden gloves protect your hands from getting dirty, torn, or cut while working. You should invest in a pair that fits you perfectly and is made from durable quality material.
Another tool in every homeowner’s shed is the garden rake. Raking becomes a daily chore, especially when the seasons hit autumn and leaves start crowding your backyard. But a rake can also be used for other gardening chores, such as breaking through the earth and leveling the soil.
Hose and Spray Nozzles
A sturdy hose and spray nozzles are also a must if you want to tend your lawn correctly. You can use these to water your yard or the plots in your garden. A garden hose makes it easier because you can water as many plants as you can within a short amount of time. A good tip would be to buy adjustable spray nozzles so that you won’t waste any water.
A hand trowel is another versatile tool that is a must-have for every gardener. Hand trowels are used for digging up the dirt, transferring seedlings into a pot, and taking out pesky weeds. They also come in various designs and colors. Buying a brightly colored hand trowel will help you make sure that you don’t lose it.
Hori Hori Garden Knife
The Hori Hori garden knife came from Japan and is designed similarly to a hand trowel. Some gardeners prefer the Hori Hori knife to the hand trowel, as it has extra measurements engraved to the actual blade. This makes it easier to make measurements when digging into soil or checking the appropriate soil height when transferring seedlings.
A garden spade’s purpose is the same as a shovel, but its design is what sets it apart. Garden spades have a squarish head compared to a usual shovel’s arcing head. It is specially designed this way for you to be able to dig into tight spaces or corners. The design also comes in handy when you need to dig around an area with settled plants.
Spading forks are often used in gardening and farming. They usually come in two models: handheld and full-sized. Full-sized spading forks are what farmers use to lift up hay, while the handheld models end up in gardeners’ hands. A spading fork can be used to loosen hard dirt and turn the soil.
Pruning shears are also a handy tool if you’re planning on growing shrubbery or hedges. They can also be used when it’s time to harvest your fruits or vegetables. We advise to use them with your garden gloves for cutting and trimming stems, vines, or branches.
If you’re going to be doing lots of deep digging in your garden, then it’s best to have a shovel in the shed. Shovels are your all-around tool for digging, transporting soil, and mixing the earth. Gardeners also use them to turn the dirt when planting.
Similar to spading forks, garden hoes are also designed in two models, with the full-sized ones used for weeding and composting and the smaller-sized ones for tilling the soil in your vegetable garden. The garden hoe’s flat blade is perfect when it comes to spreading the compost evenly among the plots. The smaller models can also be used for removing weeds in delicate flower beds.
A weeder is a handheld tool that gardeners mainly use to pull out pesky weeds from the roots. The device has a unique design that forks at the tip of the handle. The tip is crucial to the weeding process because the small space rips the grass quicker and easier.
Loppers are like the pruning shears’ big brother. Gardeners use them to trim thick stems or branches that are out of reach for pruning shears. If you have wall-sized hedges, loppers can also be used to cut the edges or stray branches. Loppers also come in models varying in the amount of thickness that it can cut, so more prolonged loppers can cut thicker branches.
A pruning saw is similar to a regular saw, but the blade is angled in a way that it can cut branches that are out of reach. This is a great tool to have around if you’re planning on growing fruit-bearing trees. A pruning saw can also be used during harvest time to cut vines, stems, or fruits.
If you’re creating a large garden, you will probably do a lot of cleaning, trimming, and digging around. For this purpose, we recommend that you purchase a sturdy wheelbarrow. Wheelbarrows are a versatile tool when it comes to gardening.
It can be very tiresome having to go back and forth with the cleanup while carrying the debris in your hands. A wheelbarrow makes it easier to lift and transfer a load in a shorter amount of time.
Edgers are an optional tool for your garden, so you can choose to purchase them or not. Edgers are a mechanical tool that operates just like lawnmowers but is uniquely designed to trim the grass in driveways and paths going through your garden. This gives your yard the extra touch of a finished look.
How To Get Your Garden Ready For Spring
Now that we have checked off every tool in your list, it’s time to prepare your garden for the incoming spring. But before we get to the actual planting, we need to do clean and prepare the soil for the plants. The weeks after winter and the thawing of the snow is bound to leave tons of debris behind, so expect a major cleanup job.
Check on Your Tools
The first thing you need to do to prepare your garden for springtime is to check your tool inventory in the shed or garage. Make sure to check if there is a device missing, if something needs cleaning, or if the tool needs to be replaced altogether. It’s essential to create a checklist beforehand to properly check everything in storage.
Clean Up Your Yard
The next thing to do would be to clean your lawn and backyard of all the dead leaves. A garden rake will come in handy with this chore. Once you rake your yard, this will give you bright space to begin your gardening. Round up all the leaves together and place them in a trash bag, or you can save them for your compost later. Make sure to properly dispose of them if you decide to throw them away.
Once your grass starts growing and you see the bald patches covered up, you can start mowing your lawn. Tending to your lawn is just as important as taking care of your garden. Equip your lawnmower with a sharp blade and make sure not to cut the grass too short. It’s also important to mow your lawn frequently – at once or twice per week – to reduce the dry tips of the grass and encourage fast growth.
Make sure to avoid cutting the grass too short. This will let the weeds take over, and you want to avoid pulling out the grass and reseeding your entire yard again. The recommended cutting height for lawn grass is around three inches maximum.
Reseed as Needed
When your yard is clear, you will be able to see the bare patches on the ground that are leftover from last year’s winter. To retain your yard’s previous glory, you can always reseed the patches. First, loosen the soil and give it some breathing space. Then, with a garden rake, spread the grass seeds over any bald spot and water it deeply, but not so deep that you will risk drowning the seeds.
After taking care of the bald patches, it’s now time to prepare a new layer of mulch. You can apply the two-inch-thick mulch to your lawn or garden. The mulch can be a mixture of old newspapers and sawdust. Mulching your soil is essential because it inhibits the growth of weeds by blocking them out from the water and sunlight. It also encourages microorganisms to be active in the dirt and enriches the soil.
Once you’ve applied the mulch, you can fertilize your trees or plants in your garden. Some trees or plants are known to withstand the harsh winter climate, so by feeding them, you are giving them a much-needed boost of nutrition. Don’t forget to fertilize the plants that you kept indoors throughout the Christmas season. The best thing about fertilizing is that you can create your own or purchase one from the store. Fertilizers can be compost, aged manure, or just an all-purpose commercial organic fertilizer.
When it comes to using fertilizer, it’s also important not to use too much for your lawn and plants. There is such a thing as overfeeding when it comes to gardening. Putting too much fertilizer will actually do the opposite of what you intended to do and encourage weed growth.
Aerate Your Soil
After fertilizing your plants, you will need to give your garden some essential oxygen. Aeration is the process of digging small holes in the field to break down the dirt and allow the air to penetrate. Gardeners recommend doing this once or twice a year and usually during the springtime. Aeration also allows the water and minerals to reach the roots of your plants faster.
Check on Plants
Again, we turn our focus to the present trees or plants in your garden. After fertilizing them, we recommend to inspect them for any broken or diseased branches or leaves. If you spot any signs of infection, make sure to trim those off using a pair of pruning shears. Trimming ensures that the disease doesn’t spread to the whole plant and risk infecting the others planted beside it.
Weed Your Garden
After taking care of any damaged plants, it’s time to clean out the debris and pull out the weeds. Don’t underestimate the absence of weeds during the winter season, as they are great hibernators. They will grow back almost immediately once the snow begins to melt. Use a weeder to efficiently and quickly remove the weeds from their roots. Pick up the fallen branches and store all debris in the wheelbarrow.
Create a Compost Pit
Also, don’t be quick to throw the debris away, because you can use this to create your own compost pit. A compost pit is an eco-friendly way to recycle biodegradable waste and save money on store-bought fertilizers. To make a compost pit, you first need to place a layer of “brown” materials, which can include trimmings, dry leaves, etc. Place some soil on top of the first layer, and then add the “green” layer, which can be anything from kitchen waste to animal fur. Add another layer of soil, then repeat the process, and voila! You’ve got your very own fertilizer.
Prepare to Plant
Now that we have the debris, cutting, and cleaning has taken care of, it’s time for the most exciting part, which is planting! But before you dig up the soil, there are essential factors to consider first. You need to determine your soil type and which areas of your garden receive the most sunlight or have shades. You should also take into consideration the earth that you will be planting on. If it’s too hard and made up of clay-like dirt, it might not be an ideal area for you to plant a seedling.
The pH of your garden is another thing to keep in mind. For beginner gardeners, it’s easy to overlook the fact that soils have different pH levels. It can be either too basic or too acidic, and not all plants will grow in the same soil type. You can determine the pH level of your soil by purchasing a ready-made test kit from any gardening store.
After you finish sorting out your soil’s pH level, you can now start planting your seeds. Start by thoroughly soaking the dirt with water, but not so much that it will create puddles. When you place in your seedlings, make sure that the soil around them is moist, as this will give them an excellent start to grow.
If you’re transferring plants to new containers, it’s also best to loosen the root ball. It’s important to note that the soil in the new container should have enough space for the transferred plant to settle itself into. This will help the plant’s roots grow quicker and have a stronger hold.
When you have your garden all tidied up and growing, you can start thinking of an overall look for your garden. It’s nice to start with a theme or a color that you would like to dominate your yard. You can also decorate your garden by rearranging the potted plants. Don’t hesitate to mix and match flowers, greens, and perennials with one another. Experiment as much as you can until you achieve your desired look.
Adding an accent piece to your garden wouldn’t hurt. Accent pieces are a great way to make a particular area of your backyard stand out. This can be anything and can range from a restored bicycle, to a large vase that you made yourself, or a cherub statue! Accent pieces can really bring the whole garden together.
You can also give the visitors to your garden something to focus their eyes on, or a focal point. The focal point is like the center of all your accent pieces. It can be a massive statue in the middle of your garden, archways, or a romantic seating area nestled under the shades of a flourishing tree. The focal point is what sets the mood for your springtime haven.