Gardening is fun and exciting. It's the perfect activity to get your body moving and you get rewarded with delicious fresh produce at the end. Although I'm not a master gardener yet, I have learned a few things over the 6 years I have had a vegetable garden. I put together these 4 easy steps to prepare your vegetable garden for spring.
4 easy steps for preparing your spring garden:
1. Clean your garden from any debris, branches, weeds
2. Turn or till the soil
3. Fertilize with compost or manure
4. Plan out the garden and purchase seeds and plants
What to consider before starting preparation in your spring garden:
Are you gardening for the first year or do you already have an established garden?
If you arent sure about the quality of your soil you may need to find out what your garden soil needs. You can do a soil test by purchasing a basic one at a garden store. It will tell you what nutrients your soil is in need of.
This is my garden after winter before cleaning up and tilling.
Clean up your garden beds:
Remove any large weeds and debris or leftover plants, you don't need to pull every piece of weeds though since when you will be tilling the dirt you can remove any remaining weeds as you flip the dirt. This is also a good time to examine your garden tools if any of the shovels or spears need sharpening. If your tools are dirty consider disinfecting and cleaning them so no bacteria can be introduced into your garden soil.
Turning or Tilling your soil:
When tilling soil you want to use a shovel and flip 12 to 14 inches of dirt. This will loosen and break up the soil to prepare it for planting. It creates loose and aerated soil which is ideal when planting seeds or seedlings. If you have raised garden beds you may need to add more soil to level off your garden bed.
If your soil is poor or clay-based you will need to add compost to improve its texture, moisture retention, and nutrient content. If the soil is very poor, another option is to add a raised garden bed or a container garden.
When fertilizing you will need to add nutrients into the soil. I have a backyard compost bin and I have access to a local farmer for manure. These are the 2 ways I add nutrients into my soil naturally. Your local garden store will have fresh compost you can purchase or start your own backyard compost bin with kitchen, yard, and garden scraps, and next spring you will have plenty of ready compost to add to your garden.
Plan out garden and purchase seeds:
Make a list of all the fruits and vegetables you would like to grow. Then make a sketch of your garden area and where you want which plant. Lastly, check and make sure there aren't any plant incompatibilities that you should avoid for example:
-Mint and onions where asparagus is growing,
-pole beans near beets,
-dill neighboring carrots,
-cucumber, radish, sunflower, squash, or tomatoes close to potatoes
-cabbage near strawberries, or cabbage, cauliflower, corn, dill, and potatoes near tomatoes
This is an example of what I have planned out in my garden.
Purchase seeds or plants at a local garden store sometimes they start the seedling for you at an inexpensive cost saving you time and energy.
Figure out your growing zone and which seeds should be planted at what time and temperature for example cold season vegetables need daytime temperatures to be at least 60F and evening temperatures to be 40F. Whereas warm-season vegetables need day temps of 70F and evenings above 50F.
Some seeds can be sowed into the garden soil, whereas others should be planted indoors in pots. Starting plants indoors is a great way to grow more vegetables if you live where there are colder summers or shorter growing seasons. Some seeds that benefit from starting indoors are broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, eggplants, kale, peppers, tomatoes, watermelon.