Whether your ground is starting to thaw and things around you are turning green, or your garden is still sleeping underneath a bed of snow, it’s time to start thinking about how to prepare your garden for spring planting.
If you’re in an area that’s thawing out, follow these steps to help get ready for the spring and summer season. If you’re in a colder area, now is the perfect time to get organized and be extra ready once the warm weather comes your way.
Sharpening And Taking Stock Of Tools
It’s normal for pruners, shears, and other sharp gardening tools to dull. We recommend sharpening your tools and making sure everything – including bigger tools such as weed whackers and rototillers – are in working order before the spring season.
Evaluating The State Of Your Garden
Depending on where you are, winter can be harsh on not only the plants in your garden, but also your infrastructure. Make sure raised beds, fences, containers, trellises and more have made it through the winter. If anything is damaged, consider fixing these things before anything else.
Making Sure You Soil Is Ready To Be Walked On/Worked
We don’t want you to jump the gun and get started in on your garden too early. A general rule is to pick up the soil in your hands and try to form a ball in your hand. If the soil is moist enough that you can form a ball, walking on it and working in it can compact it too much. Wait until your soil is dry enough that it doesn’t form a ball in your hand.
If you didn’t do a thorough job in the fall (either on purpose or not), make sure to rake and pick up leaves, remove spent annuals, and pull any weeds still left in the garden.
Pruning And Cutting Back
Lavender, Butterfly Bush, Artemisia and other woody perennials that bloom on new branches should be cut back in the early spring. Make sure to wait until there is no more chance of a hard frost before you take this step.
If you left Ornamental Grasses up in the garden for wildlife or winter interest, cut these back in the early spring to several inches off the ground.
Evergreen or semi-evergreen perennials, such as Bearded Iris, can be cleaned up and trimmed back to help encourage new, healthy growth.
Testing/Amending Your Soil
Before adding new varieties to your garden in the spring, we recommend doing a soil test and amending the soil as needed. It’s cheap, easy and will give your plants the best chance of thriving in your garden. Learn how to amend your soil in our blog. If you didn’t add a fresh layer of organic compost in the fall, we recommend doing so in early spring before you plant.
Clearing Existing Growth For Wildflowers
If you're planning on planting wildflowers, make sure to remove all existing growth in the early spring by rototilling or turning over the soil, depending on the size of the area. Wildflowers do best when planted directly on bare soil. Learn everything you need to know about planting wildflowers in our article.
Dividing and Transplanting
If you didn’t get to this in the fall, divide and re-plant perennials such as Daylilies in the early spring as soon as green stems emerge.
Make sure to support your Peonies and other perennials as needed in the early spring.