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3 Ways to Prep Your Garden for a Fast-Approaching Spring

March 10, 2016

Spring will be arriving shortly! With each rise in temperature outside, our Sprout Home customers are getting the spring bug to get some green going again in their lives. Even though the weather can be unpredictable and there will probably be another cold snap for most of us, there are some things that you can start doing to scratch that green itch. Here is an early spring check list that you can start on immediately in anticipation of spring flowers:

Start planting seeds inside.

While many of us are in climates too cold to start seeds directly outside, we can start them indoors with anticipation of moving them out. It's an inexpensive way to get your garden going early and also test out varieties that you might not see as potted transplants for sale. Try starting more seeds than what you expect to need—some of them might not germinate and you can always gift extra plants for mothers day or other special occasions.

Clean out your garden beds.

Cut down any dead perennial debris that did not naturally decompose over the winter to allow for fresh growth. Prune your woody shrubs and trees by getting rid of dead areas, suckers, or improper growth. (Though do not go crazy on them until you know what you are pruning, as some woodies have already started to build buds over the winter and you don't want to cut off this year's blooms off prematurely.)

Give the beds a light mulch. Once the weather is free and clear of a spring freeze, start fertilizing your beds to give your plants some food and energy to kick in to gear. When it is ready to start digging, your prep work will already be done and you can jump right in to the design process.

Plan for next spring now.

As the spring bulbs are starting to rear their heads, check out where you have empty spaces that are lacking green and flowers. Make note of it as you can purchase the early blooming bulbs this coming fall to plant outside. You can also look back at what your garden looked like in the winter to plan for potentially adding winter interest plants if it was otherwise lacking.

A few tools of the trade:

How are you prepping your garden—if you're so lucky as to have one!—for spring? Let us know in the comments.

Tara Heibel is the owner of Sprout Home, an idyllic gardening store in Brooklyn and Chicago.

1 Comment

Smaug March 11, 2016
Having gardened in Northern California since before the invention of angiosperms, I feel like I should have some advice for my local brethren, but I'm damned if I know what goes on around here. It rained one day in February, with most days hovering in the mid to high 70s. It now looks like it will rain all of march. One thing that can be done now is cuttings in place. A lot of herbs, especially, will root very easily. Branches of rosemary, oreganos, thymes, etc. can be planted in appropriate locations (you need good drainage, especially) and, if it rains enough to keep them from wilting, will root in place. A lot of other plants can be grown this way too- roses are a good example. It's not as dependable as some methods, but requires practically no effort or investment, gets your plants started in place before transplanting would be advisable, avoids transplant shock, and generally, if it succeeds, will get your plants the best start possible. Also a good time to distribute seeds of things like parsley, wildflowers and their ilk- more formal plantings will probably have to wait, although by the end of Feb. soil conditions where I am were fine for digging and soil prep- they aren't anymore. I also find myself this time of year wandering around with various past their prime alliums from the kitchen- seldom get much out of it by way of bulbs, but some of them- like onions and leeks- can make a very nice flower display in mixed plantings.