Springtime Gardening: This Weekend’s Checklist

spadeWe’re almost confident that it’s not going to snow this weekend! That means we’re going to finally be able to drag Mother Nature into Springtime. It’s also time to gather your gardening tools, make a plan and get out in the garden, so here is a checklist of things you should do and the tools you need to start springtime gardening.

Remove anything you used to “winterize” your garden last year

This may include extra mulch or frost blankets to help plants make it through the cold months.

Turn the soil

Heavy snow and rainfall over the winter have probably compacted the soil in your garden. Compacted soil makes it difficult for new growth, so spend some time in your garden loosening the soil around your plants to give them room to breathe. Tools that work well for this are:

  • Spading fork
  • Rake
  • Gardening gloves

Treat the soil

This basically means adding stuff to it to make it fertile to grow healthy plants. As you’re turning the soil, add things like:

  • Compost
  • Fertilizer
  • Vermiculite
  • Peat moss

If you have trouble growing things in your garden no matter what you do, you may need to have the soil tested, and now is the time.

Organize and set up plant supports

Some vegetables grow better when they are gently guided upward instead of out. There are many options for supporting plants. Here are a few:

  • Bamboo stakes
  • Trellis netting
  • Velcro plant ties

Set up irrigation and garden grids now

Even though you probably won’t be turning on the water just yet (it’s best to wait until the danger of frost has passed), it’s much easier to get irrigation in place before plants grow too big to work around.

Purchase seeds and plants

Decide what you want to plant in your garden and buy the seeds or seedlings.

Don’t forget other essentials to make planting easier:

  • Trowel – makes digging individual holes much easier while kneeling.
  • Transplanter – easily transplant seedlings into the ground
  • Kneeling pad – saves wear and tear on the knees while kneeling in the garden.

Once you’ve planted your seeds and seedlings, be sure to keep their beds weeded regularly. New plants need as much of the soil’s nutrients as they can get and don’t like to compete with weeds for space and food. If freezing temperatures are expected after you’ve planted your spring garden, cover young plants with frost blankets, old newspaper, mulch or bed sheets to protect them from damage. Just be sure to uncover them in the morning so they can reap the benefits of a full day’s worth of sunshine.