Spring is almost here, which means it’s time to get your garden ready for another bountiful growing season.
Whether you’re starting your first garden or your 50th, this checklist will help you make sure you set yourself up for success as your yard thaws out and the lushness of spring sets in.
1. Pull Weeds
The winter-spring transition is the ideal time to clear out weeds from your garden. The weeds haven’t had time to set deep roots yet, which means they’ll come up easily.
Always pull weeds up from the base so that you get the entire root system. To make the job even easier, you can also wait until after you water so that the soil is soft and the roots come out with almost no resistance.
If you pull weeds now, you’ll also get to them before they go to seed. That means you’ll have to deal with far fewer weeds in the summer and fall.
Tools needed: gloves, trowel
Pro tip: Toss your pulled weeds into a fresh compost bin to start this year’s compost. The sun’s heat will kill any seeds, so you don’t have to worry about the pulled weeds spreading.
2. Clear Winter Debris
Get your garden nice and tidy by clearing out dead leaves, fallen sticks and branches, and other debris that has accumulated over the winter months.
Matted, built-up leaves from the previous autumn will prevent tender new plants from getting sunlight, causing them to die early in the season. Be especially sure that you get the leaves off your grass to avoid brown, dead patches on your lawn.
Tools needed: rake, leaf container
Pro tip: As long as there aren’t too many of them, you don’t have to worry about leaves that are under trees and shrubs. You can just mulch over them and they’ll decompose, enriching the soil.
3. Edge Garden Beds While the Ground is Still Firm
If you want crisp, magazine-worthy edges in your garden, early spring is the time to do your edging.
Choose a cold morning when the ground is still firm and go around all the edges with an edging tool. You’ll end up with much cleaner lines than you would if you waited until the ground thaws fully.
Tools needed: Edging tool
Pro tip: If your backyard isn’t too big to manage by hand, a manual edging tool is inexpensive and will give you more control over your edging. It’s a great item to have for both beginners and long-time gardeners.
4. Tidy Up Perennials
Perennials are plants that survive winter and come back every season.
Many perennials go to seed toward the end of their growing season, and as your garden unthaws in early spring, you may notice new perennial plants popping up next to old ones.
To keep your garden neat, dig up new perennials at the start of spring and either compost them or replant them in a place where you want them to grow.
Pro tip: an adjustable bulb planter helps you plant all your perennial bulbs at the same depth, which will make them look neater as they bloom.
5. Fertilize Garden Beds
Once your garden beds are edged, it’s time to fertilize them and start building up rich, nutrient-dense soil.
If you composted your autumn leaves, you should have plenty of high-quality compost ready for spring fertilizing. If not, consider a granular fertilizer from your local garden center.
Once you’ve fertilized your garden beds, add a layer of mulch to return vital nutrients to the soil. Good choices include sphagnum moss and wood mulch, both of which are widely available.
Tools needed: none
Pro tip: you can also use fresh grass clippings as mulch. Just take them out of your mower and spread them evenly throughout your fertilized garden beds.
6. Check Your Watering System
A lot of watering systems suffer freezing damage over the winter season. Leftover water in your watering pipes can expand, causing the pipes to burst or dislodge from their intended position.
This is especially true of PVC pipes because they’re rigid and become brittle when cold.
When it’s time to water, turn on your system and check every sprinkler to make sure you’re getting steady, even water flow. If anything isn’t working properly, it’s time for a replacement.
Blu-Lock pipes are made of flexible polyethylene, which makes them incredibly simple to install. You can also use an adapter to attach them to existing PVC pipes, cutting out a burst area and patching it with Blu-Lock instead of digging up a large stretch of PVC pipe and replacing the whole thing.
Best of all, Blu-Lock is more resistant to winter damage, lasts longer than PVC, and is more environmentally friendly because it requires no glues, solvents, or other chemicals. You just screw it in and you’re ready to water.
Pro tip: while you’re at it, upgrade your sprinkler timer to a B-hyve smart timer. B-hyve factors in local weather patterns and automatically delivers the perfect amount of water to your plants, every single day. A B-hyve timer can save you thousands of gallons of water a year, which is better for the environment and for your wallet.
Enjoy the Spring Season
Once you’ve squared away your lawn and garden with the above checklist, you’ll have a strong foundation for this year’s growing season.
Want more nature in your life? Consider creating an indoor jungle with a few houseplants, or read up on 10 things gardeners often neglect to make sure this year’s garden is the most abundant you’ve ever grown.