Tips & Techniques
Betterdays in Full Swing

Tips To Getting Your Garden Ready for Spring Planting

Gardening

The snow has melted, the cold temps have risen a few degrees and gardeners all over are itching to get down to the dirt and start planting. But even if the ground is not quite totally thawed yet, there is much to do so the garden will be prime for spring planting. Be ready to start digging by spending some time prepping everything beforehand. Read on to learn our best early spring garden tips for spring time planting.

Avoid Watering Frustrations

Now that you’ve discovered the myth of the bargain hose, it is easy to see that not all hoses are created equal. Taking time now to find the right garden hose can prevent a lot of gardening frustration once spring rolls around.

First, find the perfect hose length by measuring the farthest distance from the spigot, and then add an extra 5 to 10 feet – no more. A hose that is too long increases the risk of an accidental puncture when it is being dragged across surfaces (not to mention hoses can be quite heavy when having to lug around extra weight while moving through the yard and garden).

A durable, versatile hose will be the foundation for a season of smart watering, so do the homework and find that perfect hose for your yard. A multipurpose hose like the Flexogen Super Duty Hose comes in a variety of lengths, making it easy to customize for any unique yard.

Once the garden has matured a bit, streamline watering routines by adding a watering system to your garden space. Start by always giving plants the exact right amount of water at the right time with a water timer. For added precision, consider using a Soaker Hose. Weave the hose throughout plant rows to water only the ones that need it. Covering a soaker hose with mulch will help keep it in place for easy watering all season long.

Try Something New

This year, plan on jumping into a gardening project that is outside your comfort zone. Backyard beginners and gardening gurus alike can find the right tools to help get the job done. Itching to start a vegetable garden? Try these tips for better-tasting veggies. Or, up your watering game with an Elevated Sprinkler, which allows water to reach sprouting vegetables with a gentle rain-like shower.

Don’t Let Plants Dry Out

Most of us have been guilty of leaving our plants out to dry (literally) when leaving for a long weekend or special getaway during the spring and summer months, but fortunately the fix is an easy one. Make it a goal this season to install a Water Timer so plants don’t die while on vacation (or for those weeks that just get too busy).

Setting up a water timer is easy. Turn the front dial to set the clock, start time, duration and frequency. Then rotate the dial to Run, and it is ready to go.

Repair, Don’t Replace

Avoid frustrating problems by making this the year that watering tools like hoses stay in perfect shape all season long (and next season too). Repairs are easy when you have the right tools.

Keep these essentials around in a garden repair kit, and you’ll be ready to bounce back from hose mishaps all year round.

Complete Garden Chores Faster

Consistent watering and weed-pulling are vital when it comes to growing beautiful flowers and vegetables – but that doesn’t mean the job has to take up an entire weekend. Spend more time enjoying and less time toiling in the yard with new ways to approach the same old garden chores:

Assess the Yard

A quick assessment of the yard will help prioritize what all needs to be done so you are ready to put spring garden plants in the ground. Walk around the entire yard, front to back, and note what needs to be cleaned up or cleared out. Is there overgrowth on pathways? Do beds need to be edged? Is mulch old and dried out? After determining everything that needs to be done, it is much less overwhelming to tackle a few tasks each weekend than it is to try and do everything all at once. Plus, it’s easy to organize tasks logically once the entire to-do list is complete. For example, you want to edge beds before adding mulch, so the mulch stays contained and grass doesn’t creep into the beds.

Start a Compost Pile

Composting is a great way to reduce trash, clean up yard trimmings and clippings, add nutrients to soil and improve the overall health of a garden. Best of all, it is easy! Compost piles can be either hot or cold. The key is getting the brown to green ratio right – two to one for hot piles, and close to equal parts for cold piles. Use a bin or dig a hole for your compost pile.

Brown materials – brown compost material is carbon-rich. Think: dried leaves, twigs and straw

Green materials – green compost material is nitrogen-rich. Think: weeds, vegetable refuse or kitchen scraps and grass clippings

Hot piles are built all at one time using alternate layers of brown and green materials. A hot pile must be turned frequently, and you do not add more to it once it is started. Hot piles can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months to be ready, depending on how often the pile is turned.

Cold piles, on the other hand, take new material again and again and the pile does not have to be turned. If using cold pile method, be aware it will take much longer than the hot pile before you have a usable finished product (the compost). It can take a year or longer before a cold pile is ready for use.

Note: never put meat or dairy products in a compost pile.

Prepare for Summer

If having an amazing summer garden is the plan this year, you do not want to wait until summer to get started. Planning in advance is the best way to ensure a bountiful garden is in place and ready to produce all summer long.

The first thing to do is decide what will be planted. Many crops do well in cooler spring weather, and those are the ones to get started before the heat of summer thwarts their growth. Some cool-weather vegetables are:

Once the plants are chosen, it is time to plan the layout of the garden. Think about plant arrangement, companion plants, sun exposure and access to water. Certain plants will not do well when planted in close proximity, so that is something to be aware of. Equally as important is how other plants will thrive when planted close to one another.

Destroy Hibernating Pests

They are foe of every gardener – pests that live in and sometimes destroy gardens. Don’t let garden pests get the best of your garden this year. Spring is the time to seek out and destroy those pests that will be harmful to gardens the rest of the year. Often, many little buggers will hang out all winter, just waiting for the warmth of spring to signal it’s time for them to get back to their dirty work.

One of the biggest culprits are hibernating beetles that essentially go dormant over the long cold of winter. Beetles will seek shelter in dry areas that protect them from predators and cold. Find them under loose bark, in wood piles or under fallen leaves or yard-waste piles. Lady bugs will also hibernate in the winter. They can find refuge under house siding and survive until the warmer days of spring.

Before destroying bugs in the garden, take the time to find out which are harmful to gardens and plants. Ladybugs are good for many plants and should not be harmed if possible. To protect plants from beetles, floating row covers over newly planted crops are very effective. Depending on the type of beetle, more aggressive tactics may be wise.

New beginnings and new growth are a big part of what spring symbolizes. Don’t be afraid to use this gardening advice to get a jump start on spring planting and gardening so you’re ready for a full-scale summer garden this year.

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