Here’s another article on preparing your garden for Spring by Viveka Neveln for Better Homes & Gardens.
Still too cold out for gardening? That’s the perfect time to do a little planning and preparation for the busy growing season ahead.
You know that point in late winter when you feel like the cold weather will never end? Spring fever hits, and you just can’t wait to enjoy your garden in the warm sun again. The landscape may still look drab, but visions of colorful tulips and daffodils and fresh green grass dance in your head. Though it may be too early to get planting (check your area’s last spring frost date), there are plenty of gardening tasks you can do before the weather warms up. Prepare for your best spring garden yet by checking off each of these five things from your to-do list right now before everything starts growing again.
1. Celebrate the Earliest Blooms
Some plants such as crocus, hellebore, and camellia bloom in very late winter. If you have any of these early-blooming flowers appearing in your yard, make the most of them. Clear away any debris such as last year’s dead foliage or twigs that may be hiding the flowers from view. Try putting a few colorful blossoms in a vase inside if it’s too cold to admire them outside or you can’t see them from a window. If you don’t have any winter-blooming plants, take a walk around your neighborhood to get ideas for what you could plant for a little early color to tide you over until spring really gets going.
2. Start Seeds
Get a head-start on your spring garden by starting seeds indoors. You can sprout many types of vegetables, herbs, and annual flowers from seed 6-8 weeks before your last frost date. It’s also a good way to try out exciting varieties you might not find in a garden center. Plus, watching your tiny seedlings grow while it’s still cold and dreary out is a great mood-booster.
3. Prune Your Shrubs
If you live in a cold climate where hardy plants go dormant, late winter is a good time to prune your shrubs before spring growth starts. While branches are still bare, it’s easier to see what you’re doing. Focus on dead, broken, or crossing stems first, and then shape the overall plant as you wish. Pruning often will encourage your shrubs to produce lots of fresh stems once they begin to grow again in the spring.
Many common landscape shrubs benefit from late-winter pruning, including most roses, redtwig dogwood, spirea, juniper, yew, and viburnum. Avoid pruning shrubs that bloom in early spring, or you won’t get any flowers this year. Wait until right after these plants bloom to make your cuts.
4. Get Your Containers Ready
Even after warmer weather arrives in spring, it can take a while for your garden plants to bloom. A few well-placed containers, however, will give you a quick shot of color wherever you need it. Even if there’s still snow on the ground, you can pull out your planters (or stock up on pretty new containers) and fill them with potting soil. That way, you’ll be ready to add plants as soon as pansies and other cool-season annuals arrive at your garden center or grocery store.
5. Review Your Spring Gardening Checklist
Once spring finally does arrive, you’ll have your hands full planting, weeding, watering, mowing, and more. Before your outdoor to-do list starts overflowing, go through this spring gardening checklist. Make sure you have all the tools and supplies you’ll need. A little preparation now goes a long way toward making the most of the growing season.