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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Prep Your Garden Now!

Prep Your Garden

Prep Your GardenNational Gardening Month is right around the corner, and with it, the wonderful weather that makes it possible to re-start your garden after the winter! Take these steps to make sure your garden—whether it’s a huge expanse of your backyard or a few pots on your porch—is ready for planting in April.
  • Fix raised beds and acquire necessary equipment. If you have raised soil beds, or if you do your gardening with equipment that might need repair (such as stakes and wiring), check to make sure it’s all in good working order. Take this weekend to re-hammer planks, reinforce walls, patch clay pots, and construct new stakes, if need be. If you also need to replace equipment—say a trowel broke, or you lost a glove—replace now so you’re ready to garden soon.
  • Clear the area. Clear out any dead leaves, branches, yard toys, and whatever else may have found its way onto the soil. If you have a chipper, shredder, or mulcher, you can shred your yard accumulations like grass, dead leaves, and fallen branches, and use it with mulch; as it all breaks down, it will nourish the soil.
  • Prune. Is the surrounding shrubbery growing wild? Trim to get it into shape, and make sure you pick up and clear away all the trimmings. If your garden rests at the edge of a line of grass, prune that grass for a clear edge. Clear away any weeds that sprung up over the winter and early spring.
  • Unpack the soil. Get out your hoe or three-pronged trowel, and start digging into the soil to loosen it up! It’s been frozen in the ground all winter, so breaking up gives it the chance to breathe and gets it ready to incorporate mulch or compost. If you do container gardening and it’s a small container, replace the old soil with new. For larger containers, replace at least the top half of the soil with new soil and fertilizers.
  • Add compost and mulch. If you’re a composter, now’s the time to spread it around your garden. If you use mulch, now’s the time to start laying it down in your garden around anything you have already in place—shrubbery or bushes, for example.
  • Make a plan. Unless you’re 100% certain of what you’re planting and where this time around, start planning! Do a bit of research, whether from the library or online, what plants, herbs, or vegetables work best for planting in your region. Sketch out a plot of your garden on graph paper, and divvy up the soil so you know where to plant what.
  • Start now! Now is the perfect time to start your seedlings indoors. Egg cartons make the perfect seed-starters, as do paper cups and yogurt containers. Whether you buy your seeds from the grocery store or from the nursery, it’s beneficial to start them in smaller cartons and keep them indoors, where you can control their environment. 

Originally posted by Vocalpoint 3/27/2012

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