Spring gardening means more than warmer days, longer hours under the sun, and the slow, eventual withdrawal of the cold. With planting and gardening in spring comes the opportunity to introduce, or re-introduce, a variety of plants to your spring garden. Whether you want to grow a medley of vegetables right in your backyard or create a patch of flowers that’ll attract the envy of guests and neighbors alike, spring gardening is both an affordable and engaging project.
However, when it comes to raising plants from seed to full bloom to harvest, a lot of different factors come into play. Preparing a vegetable garden or planting flower seeds may seem simple in comparison to taking care of a pet dog or rearing livestock, but without the right prep or tools, you may end up disappointed and with a barren yard at the end of the spring season. Every type of plant, regardless if it’s a vegetable, fruit, or flower and regardless of the reason you’re growing it, has its own individual needs that must be deeply considered.
Have you ever searched “When should you start a spring garden?” or “What can I plant in the spring garden?” or “gardening tips spring“ and got too many gardening tips and don’t know where to start. Gardening tasks, especially after the winter frost, can seem to be a lot of work…we know! We are here to simplify things! In this guide, we’ll give you the answers to those questions with our 101 guide on spring gardening and spring planting ideas and easy tips on how to plant a spring garden—with these ten helpful tips, you’ll be a master green thumb in no time.
Garden ideas for spring Do Some Research
Especially on a chilly, wintry day, there’s nothing else better to do than to sip a warm drink and surf the Internet and dream of the spring. While you’re at it, you can also do some research on your spring garden! In the winter, it is the perfect season to start your spring garden prep. Here are some of the most popular spring gardening ideas to plant:
What can I plant in the spring garden?
- Snow Peas
(Plants which stay alive throughout the year and bloom during one season)
- Bleeding Heart
- Baby’s Breath
- Heartleaf Brunnera
- Virginia bluebells
(Plants which grow and die in one season)
- Sweet Alyssum
Clean Up the Yard
How do I get my garden ready for spring?
Winter may have rendered your garden as a barren or snowy landscape, but as the snow dissipates and your garden begins to stir once again, you may notice some changes your garden has undergone over winter. For example, you may have a tree or shrub that has become overgrown or stray branches on the ground. Harsh weather elements may have also damaged trees, shrubs, and decorative ornaments left in your garden over the months.
Before you start planting, take the time to survey your yard and figure out what needs to be cleaned up at first glance. If needed, consult a professional to assess your tree’s health or hire an outside party to handle pruning. Especially for overgrown trees and shrubs, pruning is essential to ensure healthy growth and as a proactive countermeasure against disease and rot.
While you’re handling all your new clean-up duties, make sure to divvy up time between your tasks so you have enough time to also focus on sowing seeds and preparing your beds.
Check Your Garden Tools
Especially if they weren’t stored properly, your tools may possibly need a touchup. Sharpen blunt shears and pruners, replace worn-out gloves, and scrape off accumulated gunk and rust from trowels. For those with a tool shed, go in and take time to clean it by airing it out as well as sweeping up any stray cobwebs. Also, try to reorganize workbenches and tools so you know what to grab from where.
If you own a greenhouse and plan on using it later in spring, freshening up the greenhouse is another great project to start while you’re in the middle of organizing your tools. Take time to wash down your greenhouse’s windows and note what garden beds may need to be fixed.
Hardscaping does more than maintain the charm and aesthetic of a backyard garden—hardscaping ensures that your spring garden is a safe place to enjoy. Important parts of hardscaping include fixing damaged walls/fences, checking your patio for wood rot, cleaning out gutters, surveying decorative items in your garden such as benches, and leveling your garden’s stepping stones. Depending on your region and the types of extreme weather conditions your garden has endured, the amount of hardscaping, as well as the tools necessary, will differ.
However, in early spring, you can get away with several hardscaping duties such as adjusting the size and edges of your flower beds as well as applying fresh coats of paint where needed. Definitely consider hardscaping before planting seeds, as you can save yourself tons of time in the long term.
Test Garden Soil & Buy Mulch
Preparing garden soil for the spring is important to the growth of the plants and the overall well-being of the garden. It is through the earth that your plants take up important nutrients, and certain compositions of the dirt such as pH can affect the health of your plants as well as their color. For both aesthetic and health reasons, you want to make sure its just right before sowing seeds or transplanting shrubs.
One thing you can do to determine how well your soil will fare for spring gardening is to run a series of tests. While you don’t have to do this every season, it’s good to know the pH and mineral makeup. Here are common types of soils one may encounter in their garden:
- Clay: When dry, clay becomes hard and compact. This type of earth drains the slowest but also has reserves of nutrients and moisture.
- Sandy: Compared to clay, sandy soil is the opposite. Water and nutrients move easier due to the larger particles. However, since it has more airflow, mulch may decompose faster.
- Silt: Due to its compact composition, there is less air circulation and drainage with this type of earth.
- Loam: For the majority of plants, loam is considered the ideal soil. It’s especially rich in mineral particles, which aids in making healthy and robust plants. Once you know what type of garden soil you have, whether it’s clay soil, sand soil, silt, or loam, you can prepare accordingly for your spring blooms.
A particular investment for spring in the garden you can make to ensure that your garden beds stay healthy all year long is to buy mulch for your garden. Mulch is organic material you can add as a layer to the top of your garden soil. It can consist of different types of decomposable matter such as wood chips, sawdust, kitchen scraps, grass clippings, and even animal manure. As the mulch decomposes and breaks down on top of your garden soil over time, it adds more nutrients as well as serves as a weed-resistant aid for your garden.
Plan Out Your Sowing
For many aspects of gardening, it feels that timing is important more often than not. Some plants do well planted straight into the flower bed as a seed and others such as sweet peas may need more time to grow in regulated conditions before being transferred to a garden bed. Once you have decided which plants you would like to raise for the spring, plan for their respective needs and be ready to adjust for any unexpected complications such as unfavorable weather.
Think About Insects the Birds and the Bees
Many people often think about their gardens as isolated spaces, especially as places that can be cultivated to their aesthetic or for practical reasons. However, gardens can also act as mini-biomes which interact with the local wildlife. A garden can actually end up harming insects, birds, and animals native to the region without careful consideration and research of the plants you choose to grow.
In terms of your garden’s health, you may want to think about what pests are local to your area. While it isn’t possible to entirely get rid of pests and harmful insects, putting in countermeasures such as attracting their natural predators and fostering an environment-friendly to such predators is a good start. Whether it’s prayer mantises or ladybugs, it’s important to do the necessary research in order to maintain the balance of your home’s unique biome.
For aesthetic purposes, consideration about the selection of flowers and vegetables you want to raise also factors into which insects and animals flock to your garden. If you want butterflies, then it will be necessary to research spring plants that attract butterflies and grow well in your region’s soil. If you don’t want a specific pest, then it may be best to avoid the plants that attract that pest.
On top of all this planning and consideration, if you happen to have any installations for animals such as birdbaths, bee houses, and bird feeders, be sure to take time to spruce them up for visiting feathery friends.
Start a Compost Pile
If you want earth with extra nutrients for summer planting and have a desire to be environment-friendly, starting a compost pile is a good project to begin in spring as temperatures begin to rise.
A basic compost pile uses “brown” and “green” materials. “Brown” materials consist of dried leaves and are rich with carbon. “Green” materials are grass clippings and weeds and are rich in nitrogen. When it comes to making the compost pile, you can do either the “hot pile” or the “cold pile” method.
A “hot pile” consists of making a large pile with alternating layers of “brown” and “green” materials. After a few months of turning this pile, the resulting product will be some soil you can use immediately. A “cold pile,” on the other hand, consists of regularly adding “brown” or “green” materials indiscriminately to the compost pile. While you don’t need to turn “cold piles,” they do take longer to form soil—in addition, the soil must be scraped out from the bottom of the pile. It takes extra research depending on your garden’s needs and your diet, but adding decomposable kitchen scraps is also viable for any compost pile.
Journal Your Progress
Though journaling the progress of your garden may seem like a high school project, actively watching the progress of your plant’s growth is a good way to measure your spring garden’s progress. It’s also an excellent way to detect potential issues with your garden’s soil, with your plants’ health, and can help with fending off pests before an infestation becomes too serious to control. Once you sow your spring seeds and sprouts begin to form, take just a few minutes a day to jot down notes about your plants. Does one plant have a strange color to their leaves? Does another seem more stunted than it should be? Even if you’re not able to journal daily, being proactive about checking your garden plants on a regular basis is still a great benefit.
In the midst of all the planning, preparing, and proper execution of your spring garden, make sure to take a breather! Gardening is soothing for the mind and soul, so if you find yourself getting frustrated about one particular aspect of your garden, give yourself space to unwind and tackle the problem with a new solution or garden with the family! Best of all, as you focus time to maintain and upkeep your garden, take time to also use your garden. Invite friends over for a garden party or take your daily reading outside; either way, make sure to enjoy that spring sunshine!
We hope with these ten tips you have the tools and information necessary to cultivate the spring garden of your dreams. It is true that gardening does take a lot of research, labor, and sweat beneath the sun. But being able to see one’s plants grow fully and also being able to eat vegetables straight from the vine is satisfaction at NatureZedge we believe all garden enthusiasts, whether amateur or professional, should be able to experience.