Spring is here! Often there is so much talk about spring cleaning INSIDE, that we often forget about the spring cleaning and preparing that needs to happen OUTSIDE. Whether the weather is proving it or not, it is time to prepare for the gardening season. Not preparing far enough in advance, can mean a less fruitful harvest. Having the best groundwork for planting a garden, can ensure a productive garden. Let these 10 tips for a successful garden guide you to a most bountiful harvest!
1. Know when to start the seeds indoors. Information on knowing when and where to start, is found on the seed packet, and also on the internet.
2. Figure out the transplant date, which is typically after the last spring frost.
3. How many seeds? This is often a common question, but the answer can be found on your seed packet! Thinning out may be recommended, but not always needed.
4. Know your garden. After tilling the ground, know where the sunniest and shadiest spots are. Some plants require more sun than others (like tomatoes). Other plants like lettuce and peas, can use a little break from the sun. Know where the sun hits the hardest in your garden.
5. When planting, mark your rows with strings and markers, so that you know what is coming up where.
6. As your plants start to come up, know what the plant should look like. Gardeners can get weeding-happy and end up pulling up their new garden! For example, carrots and lettuce can get in the mix, so be sure to know where you plant what. Also know what is what.
7. Be sure to water, but not to much. Water is always good for a newly planted garden, but be careful to not drown your seeds and plants, where rotting can occur. Water enough so the dirt isn’t dry and crumbly, but not too much, where water drips as you form a ball out of the dirt.
8. If you are known to have some wandering creatures around your garden, consider putting up a fence with stakes. This can protect from animals like squirrels and rabbits. If you have a large garden, consider putting up a higher fence to fend off deer. Of course this is completely dependent on where you live. Know what other “neighbors” might be milling around!
9. Have the right tools. Here are some recommended gardening tools to keep on hand:
- Garden fork – turn and mix small amounts of dirt around plants
- Spade – get deep and dig up large portions of weeds
- Hoe – a weeding essential
- Leaf rake – level dirt, spread mulch, rake in lawn clippings (great weed preventer)
- Pruner – trim back those branches so you will have more growth
- Wheelbarrow – cart away weeds and the unwanted
- Watering wand – don’t drown your plants, but give them a gentle “rain”
- Gloves – keep your nails and hands from dirt stains
- Kneeling pad – save your body and knees