It will soon be time to prepare your garden for the summer growing season. Maybe you already know which plants you plan to grow, or maybe you’re wondering how to get the soil ready for planting. Using these steps for garden preparation will help get your planting areas ready for optimal growing.
Your soil needs feeding just like your plants do, so don’t neglect the care it needs. Quality soil gives you quality plants! Once the weather gives you a few dry days, and the soil crumbles in your fingers, it’s time to turn the soil over to get rid of weeds. At the same time, feed it with manure or compost to add in nutrients. Then let the soil rest until planting time. After planting, use mulch to keep moisture in, while protecting it against weeds.
If you’re planning to grow vegetables, various kinds will have different nutrient requirements. The first step is to fertilize your vegetable garden to ensure it gets enough nutrients. Then conduct a pH test on your soil to ensure that it holds these nutrients. A vegetable garden needs to have a pH level of 6.5. Some gardeners will rotate their vegetables to ensure that nutrients are not depleted if you grow them in the same location each year.
If you are gardening in a small space, the good news is that you can grow just about anything in any type of container! The key is to make sure it’s large enough to support a growing plant. If you need to buy containers, be sure to investigate the needs of the plants and food you want to grow. Some require deep roots — and tall pots — while others thrive better in containers or garden spots that provide more sun, more warmth or greater moisture levels.
You can start your spring clean-up by getting rid of leaves, clearing out garden beds, and disposing of dead branches and debris. Remember to prune and trim bushes to make them look clean and neat.
Like any job, preparing your garden will require the right gardening tools. Check that your gardening tools are all in working order, especially those sitting in the shed for the last few months. Make sure they’re ready for use by giving them a good cleaning with water and soap. If you have any wooden-handled tools, mineral spirits can help to prevent splinters.
Plants don’t all grow and flower at the same time. It will help to know when they bloom so you can have flowers staggered throughout the growing season. Perennial and biennial flowers can be planted in cool soil, while annuals grown in containers should wait until the soil is warmer. Do your research ahead of time and read up on each vegetable (or flower) before planting.
If there is one thing we’ve all learned over the last year, it’s the importance of valuing work, play and rest time – and the great thing about a garden is that it can involve all three! By getting your family involved – including children – you can all enjoy the benefits of planning, learning and growing your garden.
Just as its name suggests, companion planting refers to planting two vegetables to share one area to save space and boost production. However, not all vegetables get along well; peas and onions, tomatoes and corn, as well as carrots and dill, are some combinations that should be avoided. Plants that do well together include:
Cucumbers and beans
Carrots with lettuce, cabbage, radish, tomatoes or peas
Corn with potatoes, beans or pumpkins
There is almost nothing more satisfying and rewarding than seeing vegetables produce food for eating, or seeing beautiful flowers grow from a tiny plant. Year after year, you will see plants produce more than the year before, thereby increasing your pleasure. Soon you can share these plants with family and friends and start them on their own journey of growing something you started!