Just because it’s the middle of winter doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be thinking about your garden. While your garden is snoozing the winter months away, it’s up to you to plan your garden’s awakening so that it gets off to the best start possible. There are a few key things that you can do in order to ensure that your garden has the best chance possible going into its growth and blooming seasons.
Clear all weeds and debris
The first thing you need to do is a little spring cleaning when it comes to your beds. Clear all weeds and leftover fallen leaves from your beds and surrounding areas. This will give you a clean working space and a good place for your garden to grow. Make sure you get beneath those low growing shrubs!
Cut back dead stems on your perennial plants and on nearby trees. This allows for more air to circulate your garden as well as encourages new growth. Pay careful attention to what you are pruning and why you are pruning it. Don’t just get clipper crazy and start cutting back everything you see. You should always have some reason as to why you are cutting something back, i.e. it’s dead.
Depending on your beliefs on rototilling, the end of winter/beginning of spring is the time to do it. There are those who swear by rototilling and others who swear against it. It doesn’t matter if never rototill, rototill once every couple of years, or rototill every year religiously, if you’re going to do it, you should do it at the right time and in the right way.
Make sure you never rototill the ground when it is wet. This can be detrimental to the integrity of the soil and will deplete the air supply needed to aid in growth. Instead, rototill when the soil is damp enough to form a ball but will still easily fall apart. This allows more air to get into the soil.
While you’re rototilling is the perfect time to add fertilizer. I myself prefer to rely on compost and manure but everyone has their own preferences. Make sure you do this a couple of weeks before you plant. That way the microorganisms have time to re-establish themselves as rototilling does disrupt their process momentarily.
This is probably the most obvious of all but it’s also my favorite. Planting a seed or bulb is always exciting to me because there’s always that mystery of what exactly is going to happen. Not to mention it’s a great way to involve my kids in the gardening process. Nothing is more rewarding to me than seeing that first little sprout on something I have previously planted.
When it comes to deciding what to plant, you need to do some planning. Make sure you’re planting things that work well in your climate and in the area that you’re putting them in. If you’re new to gardening, some research may be necessary.
If you’re not new to the world of gardening then don’t be afraid to shake some things up and try something new. You might be pleasantly surprised. But make sure you don’t forget about those bulbs you dug up in the fall. It would be a shame to miss out on seeing those again.
Using mulch is one of those fantastic innovations that I don’t think I could garden without. Not using mulch is like leaving the house without your cell phone- I always feel so exposed when I do that! Because mulch does so many important things for your garden, it’s well worth taking the time to use some.
Mulch protects your garden from a variety of things such as weeds and extreme temperatures while doing cool things like conserving water and feeding the soil. Spread the mulch in your garden leaving a space a couple inches in diameter around the stems of plants or trunks of trees to allow for air flow and to avoid water logging.