Prep Your Garden for the Coming Spring
It’s time to remove the covers and “de-winter” your garden. As the seasons shift into spring, there’s plenty to do to make sure you’re fit for full-bloom – and these are the steps to get you there.
There are three essential tools when it comes to stacking the gardening-rack in your shed. No gardener worth his salt would be caught dead without any one of them:
A Spading Fork
Ah, the spading fork – the Excalibur of garden preparation! The spading fork is something like a short-handled pitch fork, and you can find one at any garden store (or outdoor department) around. Really though, if your garden store doesn't sell spading forks – it’s not a garden store. So pick one up and go get yourself as deliciously dirty as possible!
If you don’t already have a rake – stop reading this, get into your car, go out to the store and buy one immediately!
A Good Pair of Gardner’s Gloves
From planting and transplanting to turning, tilling and pulling – Gardener’s Gloves are the centerpiece of springtime armaments. Prices range from a couple bucks to a pretty hefty penny – but so do varieties!
Be mindful that you get what you pay for. Think of features you’re sure you’ll need (straps, Velcro, rubber palms, etc.).
Turn! Turn! Turn!
There’s certainly been plenty of precipitation this year. On the one hand this boasts a special beauty all its own – while on the other it may mean your garden’s soil is like day-old sand at Low Tide – thick, solid and over-compacted. There are innumerable factors in relation to soil composition. In Lancaster, soil has a propensity to be more of a clay, whereupon organic matter and more macro organisms are needed to break this down. As a result, tilling is not encouraged as this kills a large variety of arthropods and fungi. We carry an all-natural product that introduces the organic matter back into landscapes and promotes worm activity exponentially.
Comprised of worm castings and humates, this is a must for your garden’s integrity! Call us for details!
It’s time to turn, break and fluff your garden for new life!
Use your spading fork for thicker clods and to “toss” or “fluff” the soil to give it some space to breathe. Now even it out with your rake (or perhaps with your newly-gloved hands?).
Thicken the Plot
Your freshly turned soil is fit to breathe, but it needs recovery nutrients. “Soil Amendment” is the act of beefing up your plot. It’s time to add compost, fertilizer, vermiculite – or whatever other amendments may be called for. We conduct soil testing, an essential part of determining which nutrients your landscape needs and what product to apply. Prices range for what you would like tested but our recommended test is only $20 and covers organic matter, six key nutrients and pH.
Get creative with this one; add as many different types of compost as you can. Get
your soil tested so we can pinpoint exactly what’s missing.
Your soil will settle throughout the season, so it’s best to fill your beds to the top. Take it slowly if you’re unsure of the amount of compost to buy.
Do a few beds at once (up to half), to better gauge your compost-needs.
Now add a complete fertilizer to your garden bed and mix it into the top 6-9 inches of soil. Use a slow-release fertilizer, which ensures nutrients continue to suffuse your garden without having to re-fertilize in later months. Here at MIKO, we offer all natural fertilizers perfect for any garden’s needs. Call us for details. There are plenty of resources if you have specific questions about fertilizers (ratios, mixes, etc.).
Throw in some vermiculite – especially if your garden’s soil is heavy and overly-moist, and if it’s stuck together in large clumps upon turning it over.
Vermiculite lightens the soil significantly, drawing and containing air and water into the pockets it creates.
Raise Your Supports
A lot of plants and vegetables are more inclined to grow higher as opposed to wider. Grab some refills or some first-time supports to structure your plots for the coming growth.
It’s time to organize and set your garden stakes.
Stakes come in different styles, materials, and lengths – and you’re the only one who knows exactly which ones to use.
Trellis netting should probably be replaced every 2-3 years, depending on the care you give to removing your plants.
It’s probably not a good idea to turn on your irrigation just yet – as there may still be risk of a freeze. Either way though, it’s the perfect time to set out your grids and irrigation, so you can avoid having to place them around and over plants once they've begun to grow.
Gather Your Seeds
There’s no real need (unless your plants are exceedingly large) to purchase more than one or two packets per plant – and that’s with leftovers to store for next year.
And there you have it! Spring is finally here again, winter is ending, and new growth is upon us! Your garden beds should be well-prepped by now – so here’s to a healthy bloom!
Photo Credits: Nic McPhee, Jason, mystuart, Kyle. Via Flickr, in order of photos.
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