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Preparing Your Garden for Spring

man working in raised garden bed

As spring approaches, visions of spending time in the garden begin to fill our minds. After the cold and snow of the winter months, it is only natural to want to get outside and enjoy your garden. However, as most homeowners will know, the winter can often have a devastating effect on your outdoor space and there are plenty of jobs to be done.  Now is the time to start preparing your garden for spring. 

But where do you start? Looking out at rotting leaves, lackluster plants, and overgrown grass can leave you feeling a little deflated. But there is light at the end of the tunnel and getting your garden spring-ready isn’t as challenging as you might think; provided you follow a few tips. So, in this guide, we are going to be giving you all of the information you will need to know on how to prepare (a) garden for spring. 

Things You Will Need

Before we get started on discussing the things you are going to need for your winter garden preparation for spring, we must point out that every garden is going to be different. While some gardens may need one thing, others may need something entirely different. This is typically based on the terrain and what is growing in the garden. 

As a rule, you are going to need five main things. Let’s explore these in a little more detail.

Gardening Gloves And Hats

Depending on the time of year, you may need different gardening apparel. However, for most people, the jobs that we will be discussing in this article will need to be done at the end of winter into the beginning of spring. At this time of year, the weather can be unpredictable.

For this reason, having a gardening hat is a must, especially when the sun comes out. Even when it still feels cold, there is still a very good chance that sunburn can occur. You should look for a gardening hat that will cover the neck yet remain breathable and comfortable. 

women in white hat cleaning up garden, garden preparation for spring
A garden hat can prevent those early spring sunburns.

You will also need to invest in a robust pair of gardening gloves to protect your hands. Not only will they help to prevent any nicks from pesky thorns or scrapes on stones, but they will also keep your hands much cleaner and warmer. 

It is important that when you are choosing gardening gloves that you select those that offer comfort and durability. 

Planters And Potting Beds

If you love to adorn your garden with beautiful blooms and healthy fruit and vegetables, then you will need to have a place to get these plants off to a good start. Having some raised potting beds and some pretty planters will give you a safe and controlled environment to get your seedlings growing well. 

One of the great things is that modern gardening stores offer a huge range of planters that comes in different sizes and designs. Regardless of whether you have a small or large garden, there will likely be something for you. What’s more, if you have a theme going, you can choose planters and potting beds to match, giving your garden a highly aesthetic appeal. 

hand placing seeds into pot
Various sizes of planters are good to have for your garden

Seeds

Of course, you can buy all the planters and potting beds in the world, but they’ll be pretty sad without anything to fill them. Seeds are widely available and depending on where you live, you will be able to grow a huge array of flowers, plants, and trees.

When choosing seeds, it is important to consider your local climate as well as the condition and type of soil in your garden. If you are only going to plant in pots then you have the advantage of being able to purchase the correct type of soil. However, if you are going to transfer the plants into the ground once they have grown, you’ll need to make sure the environment is conducive to their growth. 

You should also consider what you want to grow. It’s no use setting up an allotment to grow carrots and rutabaga if what you really want is a garden full of red roses and striking fruit trees. This is a great way to express your personality so let it shine through!

Totes

A garden tote bag is a great way of carrying your garden essentials around. These bags come with a variety of pockets and storage compartments that are ideal for hand tools, seeds, and anything else you will need. 

You will need to think about the size of the tote and whether it has enough storage for what you need. But you should also think about its weight once you have loaded it up. If you feel that your strength may be lacking and carrying the tote around the garden may be challenging, then a wheelbarrow or garden cart may be more suitable. 

Wheelbarrows And Carts

Wheelbarrows and garden carts are an excellent way for people to transport their gardening essentials around the garden, but they also have another purpose. They can be used for hauling heavy items such as bags of compost, piles of pebbles, sand, or other aggregates and shifting pieces of wood, slate, and pavers for bigger garden makeovers. 

wheelbarrow full of leaves, garden preparation for spring
Wheelbarrows make it easy to transport things in your garden.

There are several things you should consider when choosing a wheelbarrow including the following:

  • A one wheeled wheelbarrow will offer excellent maneuverability and is excellent for navigating tight corners. However, if it is stability you are looking for then a two, three, or four-wheeled garden cart might be the best option. 
  • Make sure to choose a barrow or cart that has a weight capacity that is suitable for your needs. Typically something around 50-100kg will work for most average garden jobs, but there are some heavy-duty products for more demanding projects. 
  • Your wheelbarrow should be made from durable material. Typically they will be made from steel which is extremely robust but remains lightweight.

Top Tips For Preparing Your Garden For Spring

Once you have everything you need to get started, you may still be feeling a little overwhelmed by all of the work that needs doing. However, with a little organization and a handy checklist, you will find that most things fall into place relatively easily. 

Get Tidying

Over the winter months, we are all guilty of leaving our garden to its own devices. In most places, it is far too cold to want to go outside and trim back plants and for the most part, many of them will die off anyway. So, when the spring is about to arrive, it is the perfect opportunity to tidy things up in preparation for planting. 

Your beds and borders will likely need a good clear out as they will be filled with leaves and debris that has accumulated over the winter. A lot of people like to cut back any grasses and overgrown trees at this time of year too but this can be left until spring has fully sprung, particularly if you want to help the local wildlife. 

Don’t Forget The Greenhouse

It can be tempting to leave your greenhouse and simply ‘forget about it.’ However, it is important to put this cleaning job on your to-do list each spring lest your precious greenhouse fall into ruin.

It may seem like a big job but by breaking it down into more manageable chunks, it won’t feel as intimidating. You can split the jobs over the course of a weekend, if you have one free and start by sweeping the floor to remove any debris. After this, it is a good idea to check for any pests that have gathered over the winter and remove these. 

greenhouse full of plants
Easily maintain your greenhouse

Take out any plants and thoroughly clean and disinfect the inside of the greenhouse as well as cleaning the exterior glass. Doing this will allow optimum light in for when the sun comes out; your seedlings will thank you. 

You can also take any empty pots and containers and give these a good clean, throwing out any that are damaged beyond repair. This is also a good time to give the greenhouse a once over to see if any maintenance is needed. 

Once you have finished all of the cleaning jobs, leave the greenhouse door open for a few days to ensure that it dries entirely. 

Clear Your Garden Of Pests

If you want to have a successful growing season, it is vital that your garden is free from pests. But this can be a difficult problem to tackle if it isn’t addressed early on in the year. Before spring arrives, you may already notice that pests are causing issues around the garden and owing to the current lack of greenery, it may be far easier to spot them. 

Take some time in the late winter or very early spring to hunt out any pests that may have set up home in your yard and remove them. If the infestation is very minor, you may be able to collect the pests by hand and relocate them. However, in more severe situations, you may need to use a pesticide treatment. 

Consider Collecting Rainwater

In some places, rain doesn’t come very frequently, but when it does, it arrives by the bucket load. Regardless of where you live, installing rainwater collection barrels is an excellent way of recycling water and having a more eco-friendly garden. 

rain barrel next to purple flowers
Rain barrels are functional and decorative.

These rainwater barrels are easy to come by and, for the most part, relatively affordable. However, there is nothing preventing you from using any barrel or container you have lying around, provided that you are not intending on using the water for personal consumption; that is another matter entirely. 

Using rainwater for your garden is far more beneficial than tap water since it tends to be much less alkaline and therefore, much healthier for your plants. Some plants in particular will thrive when given plenty of rainwater; blueberries and camellias are perfect examples of this.

Another way to remain eco-friendly is to create a composting area. This can be anything from a simple composting container to a more complex system. Which you choose will depend on your available space. Any organic waste you have can be composted and you will have a continual, nutrient-rich feed for your plants; it’s a win win all round!

Get Your Bulbs Ready

There is no better time than late winter to get your summer flowering bulbs and seeds ready for planting. At this time of the year, you will notice that garden stores and online retailers are stocking up on these so it is important to take advantage early so as not to miss out. 

You’ll probably be clamoring to get outside at this point, but the weather still isn’t ready for you so you may as well make the most of these final days indoors by ordering bulbs such as lilies, ranunculi, and gladioli.

Get Sowing

This tip may not apply to everyone but if you are planning on sowing seeds that need a slightly longer growing period, now is the time to do it. You can begin sowing your seeds as early as January but in some cases, you can wait until February. Some of the plants that may need sowing at this time include peppers, eggplants, geraniums, and begonias. 

sowing seeds
There are a variety of methods to sow seeds.

As well as sowing seeds, now is a great time to relocate any deciduous plants in the garden. Before spring begins, these plants will still be relatively dormant and can be moved without any disruption. You will need to make sure that you dig wide around the root, giving the plant plenty of space and gently relocate it ensuring that it is planted at the same depth and given plenty of water. Stress and bad conditions can make a relocation difficult for a plant so try to move them on calm days where there is little to no breeze. 

Hardware Maintenance

If you have wooden fences or trellises, or perhaps a wooden deck, you will likely need to give these a fresh coat of stain. It is best to pick a dry day, although there are a lot of outdoor paints that are resistant to wet weather; still, you probably won’t want to be outdoors when the heavens open!

You should also check over any other garden structures for damage and attend to any repairs. In some cases, you may need to replace things like gates, fences, and decorative items. Now is also an excellent time to check your garden tools and perform any necessary maintenance on them. 

wooden garden gate
Don’t forget to check gates and other hardware with your garden.

Conclusion

Spring is an exciting time of year for many reasons, it is filled with hope and thoughts of fun-filled days spent in the garden. However, the winter has probably given your outdoor space a run for its money and there will likely be a host of jobs that need to be done. 

It might seem like a lot of hard work but our guide to preparing your garden for spring will help you to break everything down and get each job done quickly and effectively. So, gather your tools and get started!