Your Guide to Winter Garden Preparation for Spring

While winter may not be the best time to start gardening, it’s an excellent opportunity to prepare for it. Like most things in life, you need to put in the work to get what you want — although it would be amazing to snap your fingers and have a flourishing garden full of veggies, herbs, and flowers! Read our guide below for helpful tips on how to prep your garden for spring.


Essential Tools Checklist for the Beginner

You and your family may have gotten into gardening over the past year. Great! But as a beginner, you might not know what equipment you need. Whether it’s a traditional ground garden or raised-bed garden, these seven gardening tools are essential: shovel, garden fork, trowel, watering wand, clippers, and trellises and string. 

 Shovel:  You don’t necessarily need a huge shovel, but you do need one that’s big enough to turn the soil.

 Garden Fork:  Garden forks are excellent for breaking up clods and smoothing out your bed. You can also use it to dig up root crops like potatoes. 

 Trowel:  A trowel comes in handy when planting small, individual transplants in the spring.

 Watering Wand:  A watering wand provides a gentler spray and better control than a garden hose with no attachment.

 Clippers:  Some plants, like basil, require pruning. Clippers are what you need to get the job done.

 Trellises & String:  Plants that grow tall need support to continue their development. Tying your plants around a freestanding structure like a trellis works perfectly.

If you already have these tools, be sure to give them a good cleaning. Remove the rust, sharpen the edges, and wipe everything down to keep them efficient and long-lasting.


Plan Out What to Plant for the Season

There’s a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, flowers, and herbs you can plant in the spring that’ll be ready come summertime. Here’s a sample size of the seeds and bulbs you can plant:

Fruits & Vegetables

Tomatoes Peppers Eggplants Cucumbers
Squash Potatoes Okra Melons
Berries Corn Southern Peas Green Beans

Flowers

Sunflowers Shasta Daisies Daylilies Begonias
Coneflowers Lantanas Dahlias Petunias
Zinnias Blanket Flowers Black-Eyed Susans  

Herbs

Basil Thyme Mint Tarragon Oregano
Bay Leaf Dill Chives Rosemary  


Start an At-Home Compost System to Support Your Garden

If you don’t already have one, consider setting up your own compost system. Composting is the natural process of decomposing food and yard waste. It’s an excellent way to cut fertilizer costs and feed your plants the nutrients they need to flourish. When you put your trash in the compost bin instead of the garbage can, you’re contributing less to the landfills that produce harmful greenhouse gases, like methane. 

How big should your compost pile be? It depends on how much space you have. A three-bin composting system is excellent for bigger spaces. If you’re tight on space, a tumbler-style bin works fine.


Garden Clean-Up

Spring is a great time to tidy up your garden. After all, they call it spring cleaning for a reason! Remove weeds, fallen branches, dead leaves, and plant debris. If the soil is still wet from winter, wait until it dries before pulling any weeds because you could damage the soil structure. Dry soil also keeps the texture aerated, which helps plants flourish. How do you know if your soil is dry? Take a handful of soil and try to shape it into a ball. If the ball crumbles into pieces easily, you’re good to go. If not, your soil isn’t dry enough. 


Begin Sowing Specific Seeds Indoors

In January and February, get a head start and sow some seeds indoors. For indoor growing, you’ll need seed starting trays and good potting soil made for seed starting. Keep your seeds in a warm room with plenty of light and moisten the soil regularly. Follow the directions on the back of the seed packets for the best results.

A week before taking your seedlings outside and planting them in your garden set them outdoors in a sunny spot during the day and bring them back inside in the evening. This process helps your seedlings get acclimated to the outdoor weather. 


Start Collecting Rainwater

As temperatures rise, so does the demand for water. This high demand forces water companies to use groundwater reserves and streams, which is harmful to the environment and expensive for you.

Rainwater harvesting is a great, eco-friendly alternative. Without a filtration system, tap water can contain toxins and pollutants that are harmful to your plants. Rainwater is naturally clean and soft, which means it’s suitable for gardening, washing, and cleaning. 

There are a couple of ways to collect rainwater. A rain barrel is the best method to start with since it’s easy and cost-effective. Just place a barrel under your downspout to collect rainwater. If you decide to keep collecting rainwater, you can move on to wet or dry collection systems.


Conclusion

Spring gardening takes a lot of preparation and planning. But once everything is situated, you’ll have a beautiful garden that you and your family can enjoy.

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