When it comes to spring gardening, I like to think of it as a time to ‘get back to neutral.’ Winter may have done some damage and your yard is getting ready to start bursting this summer, so spring is the time to prep your canvas so to speak. Planning, fixing, and preparing now will allow you to be ahead of the game when things start blooming later!
Pick up Branches, Sticks, and Old Leaves
The first task is to pick up branches, sticks, and other detritus left behind from winter storms. For those that got a lot of snow, this may mean removing shrubs that didn’t survive the onslaught. Also, there may still be fall leaves that have collected in various corners. Rake them up and remove them so spring blooms can find the sun. I find plastic tarps to be helpful in collecting raked leaves, because then you can drag them curbside if you have leaf pickup or use it as a way to get them into a trash can. Do you have trees to remove? Now’s the time to call your local tree service before they get too busy.
Plan Your Landscaping and Gardens
Walk around your yard and take notes about what you’d like to change, plant, and spruce up. Now’s the time to order plants as well. Is there a spot you’d like to add a garden bed or perhaps plant more grass? Planning now will give you a little time to gather supplies and perhaps recruit a set of helping hands or two! This fenced area can use some plants and stones at the base (and also a good scrubbing), so I snapped a picture to help me plan.
Some weeds seem to survive even through the winter. If that’s the case, you KNOW they’re not going away this spring unless they have some help from you. Grab a trowel or cultivator and pop ‘em out now before they really start blooming!
Scrub Outdoor Furniture and Flower Pots
Take advantage of a warm day and scrub, scrub, scrub! Time to get rid of the winter dirt that’s built up on furniture and kids’ outdoor play items, or the dirt in your planters and pots if you forgot to do it this fall. I’ve found Soft Scrub works well on plastic furniture but otherwise some nice gentle soap and a hose sprayer should do the trick. This outdoor bench is begging for a nice scrub and then it’ll be ready to go!
Even if it’s too cold outside for planting in the ground, you can start seeds inside so they’re ready for warmer weather. You can use egg cartons for starting seeds and make it a family activity. We found organic potting soil (YAY!) and wildflower seeds at Family Dollar. A few minutes of planting and some diligent watering will pay off in a few weeks when we can plant them in our garden.
You don’t want to add mulch to your garden too early, but you can do so once the ideal planting time for your particular zone arrives. Rake up old mulch and add in new mulch to get your garden beds ready for summer’s flower bonanza.
Spruce up your Lawn
Each lawn has different needs, so talk to someone at your local garden center about what is best for your area. You may need to fertilize, aerate, or plant the right seed so that your grass stays beautiful and healthy all summer long. Spring is a great time to do that, before hot summer temperatures and drought claim tender seedlings.
Inventory Garden Tools
I like to take a look at what I have in terms of garden tools and see if I need to replace any. It’s always good to have some new gardening gloves as well as a trowel, shovel, cultivator, garden shears, and a padded kneeler. Plus, have a tub on hand to lug around your supplies or hold weeds or garden clippings. Check out your pots and planters – could they use a refresh before being placed outside? You can spruce up clean planters with spray paint. Choose a bright color for a pop of sunshine in your outdoor décor, or go with a neutral color and let the flowers shine.
As you can see, taking care of these basic but important spring garden tasks now sets the stage for a beautiful and prosperous yard this summer. A little elbow grease can mean a whole lot of impact in a few weeks!