03 Feb Preparing the Spring Garden
Spring is just around the corner and as such, us gardeners are chocomplemping at the bit to get our hands in the dirt. Although there may not be much planting you can do at this point, there are a lot of things you can do to prepare your vegetable garden for warmer weather.
If your garden looks like mine, it needs some serious help. I still have unpicked radishes, dead pepper plants and a sweet potato vine on a trellis blowing sadly in the winter winds. This leads me to the first item on the list of preparing for the Spring garden, clean up. Dig out all the leftover roots, pull up the dead plants and smooth out the soil. Throw all those dead plants and roots in your compost and get ready for the second thing on the list.
Having a soil test done is necessary for every vegetable gardener. How else can you know what will grow well without knowing if the soil is abundant or deficient in certain areas? Knowing your pH levels are also a must before planting. You can get your soil tested here, complete with suggestions on amendments to add.
Which brings us to our third item on our list of Spring prep, adding amendments. Once you get your soil analysis, you’ll see that your soil is not perfect, it rarely is. Especially if you have been growing in the same soil for a while. Add in the amendments needed to enrich the soil and mix some compost into the ground as well. All this will add to a bigger bounty during harvest.
Next on the list is to mulch your garden to keep it warm while waiting for the spring temps to raise the soil temperature. Wood chips work great for this task and will eventually add to the richness of the soil.
After doing everything outside to your garden, it is time to plan. Draw your garden out and section it into square feet. This helps you figure out spacing before planting. This is an important step as you don’t want to put 4 tomatoes in 4 square feet when one is the maximum. Follow a square foot chart to maximize your small garden, and if you are lucky enough to have a large garden, plan your rows accordingly.
Consult planting charts make a planting schedule. There will be cold season and warm season crops and you don’t want to miss out on either of those. In fact, you can plant cold season crops twice a year. That’s a whole lot of planting time that many people don’t figure into their gardens. So do your research, plot out your garden and plant according to the seasonal planting charts for your planting zone.
After you have your garden planned, order your seeds. Myturfandgarden.com has lots of Burpee seeds available. Be adventurous! Try to order a variety or vegetable you’ve never tried before.
Last on your last on your list is sterilizing your equipment. Spray your tomato cages and trellises with a bleach and water solution to kill old fungus. Clean and repair any broken garden tools and if you need to replace any, check our wide variety.
Once you have stated to plant, keep a journal of your garden for the year. Keep track of your successes and mistrials. This will help you next year when prepping for your garden. For example, I am always attracted to Brandywine tomatoes. I think their potato like leaves and big, juicy fruits are divine! BUT, they grow terrible in my garden. They are always get early blight and spread disease to other tomatoes. My journal tells me that i should avoid Brandywine at all costs. It helps me curb my tomato enthusiasm.
Preparing the garden for planting is fairly easy, but takes some planning. Work on these steps now to have a great gardening experience this year!