Thursday, 27 February 2014

How to Prepare your Garden for Spring

Spring is nearly here and it’s time to start preparing your garden for the most awaited season of the year. Dust off those gardening tools, start planning on fun things to plant and welcome new life to your outdoor space.

Start with a Plan

Before getting started on your garden, you need to think about what look you would like to achieve for your outdoor space. Make a checklist of the flowers, trees and shrubs you planted last year and then improve on that look by adding new perennials.  Maybe you can add a vegetable patch to grow your own herbs and vegetables or improve the overall design of that area by installing additional colorful containers and pots.

Go Green

Try to make the change in your environment by shifting from chemical gardening methods to organic gardening. You can use a compost pile in your garden, use natural fertilizers and collect rainwater from your gutters to water the plants.

Get your Garden Gear ready

To preserve your garden gear and get them ready for spring, rub linseed oil on their wooden handles and then scrub the rust off the metal parts by using a wire brush. It is important to take special care of your pruners as it is used to cut plants. Clean them with turpentine and then with denatured alcohol. Oil all the movable parts and sharpen the blades. To prevent the transfer of diseases from one plant to the next, keep a disinfecting spray handy with your pruners.

Service Your Lawnmower

You need to get your lawnmower up and running for the first few days of any outdoor work in the garden. Have the carburetor cleaned, blades sharpened and the fuel lines flushed. To make them pollute less and more efficient, clean the engine frequently.

Clear leaves away from Perennials

To prevent leaves from covering and smothering the emergence of new perennials, it is best to chop them up and use as compost. They may be great soil amendments but when they get too big, they will create a heavy covering for plants or get blown around in the wind.

Pull the weeds and fertilize

During the winter, the weeds would have germinated during the fall and would have grown when every other plant was dormant. So pull them up before they flower and go to seed. Just before spring, use organic fertilizers for the soil. This helps the growing process for shrubs and perennials. Too much fertilizer is better than none at all.

Test Your Irrigation System

Check your hoses for watering plants and make sure they are set up early before use. If you have lawn sprinklers, then test them to check for any malfunctions.

Enrich the Soil and lay the Mulch

Feed the soil with manure and compost and mix it well for a depth of 18 inches below the ground. Then add a two inch layer of good quality mulch for your flowering beds and perennials. This helps in keeping the ground from drying out, regulating moisture fluctuations and adds organic matter and nutrients as the soil breaks down.

Plant vegetable seeds indoors

Spring is the right time to get started on planting some seeds indoors in containers and pots. Place them near windows for bright sunlight access. Choose the seeds you want to plant. Vegetable seeds are the best bet like tomatoes, eggplants and peppers as they germinate well in plastic trays with plastic covers.

Start sowing and protecting seeds

Plant seeds that thrive in cooler weather conditions like onion, leeks, parsley, spinach, shallots, oregano and peppers. Using drought tolerant plants can enrich your garden. They are lavender, aloe, lavender, rockrose, honeysuckle, Black-eyed Susans, verbena, coneflower, Artemisia, garlic, yarrow, salvia and Russian sage. Protect your seeds from hungry birds before they have a chance to sprout. Cover your garden with mosquito netting or by hanging old CDs in the bushes. They will reflect light and scare away birds from that area. You can use plastic milk containers for pots.

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