Depending on your place of residence, you may or may not see flowers and trees in bloom early in the year.
Steps you can Undertake to Prepare your Garden for the Longer and Warmer Days ahead and the Growing Season
Prepare Your Tools
You should dig out your gardening tools and make sure they’re in good condition. Cleaning your shears and pruners with rubbing alcohol is a great way to stop the spreading of any plant diseases from last year. If you are missing out on something, then you need to replace the damaged tool as soon as possible. Some items may be harder to find when the season unfolds, since shipping and supply chain issues may slow down your plans.
Make a Spring Planting Schedule
Clean up the leaves around your garden, as they make for good habitat for pollinators in winter, but when the warm weather comes around, the remaining leaves will be a breeding ground for disease. Some plants such as roses and boxwoods are especially susceptible to such risks.
Cut the perennials back, as this is the ideal time to make it happen. Last year’s perennials should be cut back, leaving them a bit above the soil so you can see where they are. Avoid covering the growth areas if you’re adding mulch, so they can breathe. Composting the trimmed plant matter or cutting it up into mulch is a great way to make use of it as well.
Take care of weeding, before the weeds take care of your garden. Herbicides may end up damaging your garden, so you should use a hoe or simply pull them out by hand.
Helping Plants Thrive in Spring
Consider focusing on fertilising your garden. The shrubs, perennials and trees usually won’t need it, especially if you have already added organic matter to the soil. Too much fertiliser can mess up the roots of your plants, while also damaging the foliage. Annuals and vegetables will probably need a boost in the new season.
Testing the soil may show what you need to fertilise and where. You can pick up a soil testing kit from a nursery or gardening centre. Just follow the steps and test your soil, then drop it off or mail the samples according to the instructions on the kit. The lab will analyse the soil sample, sharing information about pH and nutrient contents, as well as recommendations on fertilising. Blind applications of fertiliser will only end up creating issues further down the line.
If you want to fertilise, you should know that timing is important. You should wait until the soil temperature is suitable, in most cases in mid-April. You should aerate the soil first, allowing the nutrients to go deeper and then apply fertiliser before you mulch. The last thing you want is the fertiliser having to dissolve through the mulch just so it can reach the soil.
Adding mulch can prevent the soil from getting washed away during storms. It also allows moderation of soil temperature and locks in moisture. If you have a lot of mulch left from the previous year, you should rake it up to freshen up its appearance. You can use locally sourced mulch, such as grass clippings, newspapers, leaves, and pine needles, you name it. Most of those will be far more environmentally friendly than any products you can buy in a store. If you do prefer store-bought ones instead, you should make sure they are properly certified, to ensure there are no harmful chemicals or dyes that may harm your garden, the environment or you.