The soil is beginning to warm up and spring is in the air. Soon, the butterflies will be fluttering, and the bees will be buzzing. Time to look at your garden and start getting it ready for spring!
For those who love to garden, this is the time of year you’ve waited all winter for. After perusing catalogues and ordering summer bulbs and seeds, you can finally dig in and get back out into the garden. So read on for tips to have your garden in top form, and to find out what you need to do to keep your garden beautiful.
Take a Tour Around Your Property
Have a good look at your garden and see how your flower beds, trees and shrubs, and your lawn and vegetable garden spaces are holding up. Take notes on anything that concerns you or looks like it needs a lot of attention, and take notice of any spaces you may need to fill with new flowers or shrubs.
Next, inspect your tools and hardscaping. Make sure gutter splashes, fences, stone walkways, and ornamental fixtures are holding up well. Repair or replace anything that needs fixing. Make sure your lawnmower and other larger tools are oiled and in good shape for the season. Get out your gardening gloves or buy some new ones if needed.
Clean Up Garden Beds and Weeds
After a long winter, flower, perennial, and vegetable beds are usually full of leaf litter, sticks and other debris. Clean them out with your hands or a rake, being careful not to disturb the soil if it’s muddy, or really damp, as this can spread disease. Save the debris for your compost pile. Get rid of any weeds that may be coming up.
Perennials – Divide to Fill in Gaps
If some of your perennials have become too large and are beginning to clump up, you can divide them up. Do this just as they begin to come up, so you don’t disrupt their blooming time. You can fill in gaps or give extras to friends or neighbours. Be sure to apply fresh mulch around them after you’re finished to help keep down weeds and retain moisture. Spread it evenly but don’t make it too thick.
It’s Time to Plant Seedlings and Your Cool Weather Vegetables
Check the local last frost date for your area and begin summer transplant seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before outdoor planting time. Add a few inches of compost to your vegetable beds and mix in with topsoil. Direct sow cool weather vegetables such as lettuce, kale, spinach, radishes, green onions, peas, beets, turnips, kale, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, and shallots.
Prune Your Trees and Shrubs
If you didn’t prune your fruit trees before winter set in, now’s the time to do it, right before the first buds come on. Roses can also be pruned down to half to one-third of their canes.
Lantana, butterfly bush, lavender and rosemary can also be taken down a bit before new growth begins. If you have any ornamental grasses, it’s best to tend to them to allow for the push of new growth to begin. Trimming off cross branches on trees is a good idea to provide for opening space for new branches.
Add Some Colour to Your Landscape and Deck
Bulbs should be starting to bloom, enjoy them and take note of any bare spots to fill in. Now’s a good time to check on your bird feeders and give them a good cleaning or buy new ones. If you’re wanting to fill in perennial bare spots or plant new trees before the ground is too warm, now is the best time to give their roots time to set before the heat begins. Be sure to mulch to keep upcoming weeds from springing up.
Planting cold-hardy annuals like pansies, primrose, labella, sweet alyssum, snapdragons, and petunias can give your borders a pop. You can find them at your local garden centre. Plant these in containers to give your porch, patio or deck a splash of colour. What a lovely sight they will be to enjoy while relaxing with a hot cuppa.
Getting Ready for Summer Fun
You should be harvesting the bounty of your cool weather vegetables by now, and your summer seedlings should be ready to transplant. Tomatoes, peppers, squash, carrots, green beans, herbs and more will all be ready to go into the garden.
It’s also time to deadhead bulbs and annual blooms, making sure they are thoroughly dried before removing them. After deadheading, it’s time to plant your summer bulbs for a beautiful show of colour that takes your breath away.
You can also buy your summer annuals from the garden centre to fill in spots and plant in containers. Beautiful jewel-coloured summer flowers give your garden a special sparkle in the sun. Try sunflowers, begonias, geranium, blue lobelias, pink fuchsias, marigolds, violas, and busy lizzies. In summer the choices are plentiful.
Compost, Compost, Compost
Finally, if you don’t have a compost pile, it’s time to start one, as the ground is warming up now. Use the debris you cleared from your flowerbeds and garden in early spring, along with kitchen scraps, nitrogen-fixing green lawn trimmings and tree prunings to get it off to a good start.
Gardeners know that compost is the gold standard that keeps their gardens flourishing. If you don’t want to have a compost pile, you can purchase it at most garden centres. Put a quarter to half an inch in flower beds, vegetable gardens, around trees, perennials, and bulbs to ensure they grow well. Mix in with the topsoil and water.
Oh, the joy of gardening, although the list seems long, it’s worth the harvest and eye candy that the fruits of your labour bring. I hope this list helps you, and that you enjoy pacing yourself to get your garden ready. Please leave any comments below. I’d love to hear about your own garden adventures.