How to Prepare the Garden in the Spring
It’s important to take steps to prepare your garden long before you start planting crops. The best time of year to get started is in the spring after the ground softens as temperatures rise. You don’t have to wait until the last frost has passed in order to get a jump on preparation. This will give you plenty of time to loosen the soil, remove debris, add nutrients and get everything ready for planting.
Remove Debris, Till Soil
The first step is to remove debris that have settled on the garden since the fall. You may be surprised at how many rocks, twigs, branches, leaves, garbage and other debris have accumulated over the past few months. The next step is to loosen up the soil with a pitchfork or hand tool. Dig a few inches deep and lift, turn and break up those big chunks of earth.
Stab the soil repeatedly to soften the ground beneath as well. Make sure that you take your time and do this for every part of the garden. Mix in any cover crops, compost or mulch that you have placed over the garden in the fall.
Nutrients and Top Soil
Chances are that you will need to add nutrients to the garden, and the best time to do so is before you plant your first crops. This gives you room to work and thoroughly mix the fertilizer and any other additives to the soil without disrupting fragile crops. Check the condition and overall health of the soil, and consider adding a good amount of topsoil to enhance the productivity of the garden once crops start growing.
A short word about fertilizer- It’s important that you choose the right fertilizer for the crops that you plan on growing. You should also consider segregating the garden and creating sections for crops that use similar fertilizer ingredients.
Garden structures can be anything from irrigation systems to underground lining, fencing, grow cones or anything else associated with the garden. This is the best time to inspect everything to make sure there are no leaks, tears, structural issues or any other problems.
Have weeds growing through the lining under the soil? Now is a good time to patch or repair the area. Fencing or borders in disrepair? Fix them before planting to ensure that the garden is as structurally-sound as possible. Irrigation systems are very easy to inspect and repair before crops are planted, and identifying small problem spots can help to avoid big and complicated fixes during the middle of the growing season. You get the idea.
Starting on these and other garden projects in the early spring gives you plenty of time to tend to any issues that can impact your crop productivity during the upcoming season. You can identify things that need to be taken care of and establish a timetable so that you aren’t faced with the frustration of dealing with a last-minute problem.
Looking at your garden early also gives you the opportunity to reevaluate the types and quantities of crops that you will plant as well. You can have the time to adapt, expand and improve on the garden you grew last year. Finally, turning your attention to the garden as early as possible gives you the chance to repair or replace older and worn garden tools.
Take advantage of the upcoming thaw to get outside and get productive. While the growing season may still be weeks away for many people, this is a great time to get a jump on what needs to be done in order to be ready to plant on time.