4 Useful Spring Planting TipsApril 17, 2014
Now that leaves have turned green, days are longer, and the skies are blue and balmy, the thoughts and daydreams of many homeowners are focusing on the upcoming gardening season. Whether you have basketfuls of freshly picked vegetables and berries on your mind or you’re more the type who wants to cultivate a thriving perennial border, it’s time to start getting that yard ready for spring. Here are some spring planting tips to get you started:
1. Figure Out What Garden You Want to Plant
Will you plant an herb, vegetable, flower garden, or a combination? One of the spring planting tips is deciding what type of garden you want to plant. Each one requires different kinds of effort and activities on your part. But, ultimately, it’s a matter of taste and what you want out of your planting and gardening experience. With that in mind, it may help you to make your decision by considering what is involved in each type.
Herb gardens are a great “all-seasons” choice as herbs can, once picked, be preserved and used throughout the colder parts of the year. This means that once everything has grown and you’re no longer planting or harvesting herbs, you can still be enjoying the fruits of your labor.
They also have quite a bit of variety. You can have a wide variety of tastes thanks to growing herbs that also make all kinds of cuisine possible. If this is the type of garden you want, learn how to grow an herb garden to set yourself up for success.
Vegetable gardens offer something that you can literally eat and that is valuable in and of itself. Whole meals can be made out straight out of your own backyard. With an herb or flower garden, you can’t really make a meal out of the result.
Vegetable gardening can be very rewarding in that you get to see your work truly ripen, come into its own, and then partake of it. If you’re not sure where to get started, here are a few good starters for a vegetable garden:
As a food, broccoli goes well in just about every dish. Its taste is not terribly overwhelming, which allows it to serve as a palate cleanser in most cases. Plus, its nutritional value is undeniable. From a gardener’s perspective, it’s not a terrible thing to have in one’s garden either!
You should sow your broccoli seed roughly four weeks before the last frost date, which is an important date to be aware of for your area when planting! For broccoli, use a low-nitrogen fertilizer and you’ll have some delicious sprouts in no time!
Potatoes are a whole other story, but they go with just about any meal as well. Nutritious, filling, and capable of being made into a wide variety of dishes, you just can’t go wrong with a potato!
Keep the soil that you plant your potatoes in loose, fertilized, and drained. The potatoes grow underground and are subject to a number of pressures that other plants may feel not-quite-so strongly.
Spinach is a food that can have a stronger taste, but its nutritional value is well-known. And, it has applications across all manner of different meals and cuisines. Spinach wants very, very fertile soil to grow quickly and with soft, tender leaves, which are all the better to munch on.
Flower gardens have the advantage of being incredibly beautiful. More often than not, your vegetable or herb garden is largely just vines, leaves, sprouts, and then hidden fruits that are dirty and not very seemly. Flowers, on the other hand, are made to be beautiful, and so can make your entire lawn very beautiful. Your flower garden can be incredibly transformational for your entire home in ways that a vegetable or herb garden just can’t be.
2. Determine Where You Will be Planting
If you already have established garden beds, determining where in your yard you’ll be planting is relatively easy. But, placement matters within garden beds too. Whether you’re intending on growing vegetables, flowers, or a combination of both, now is the time for you to find the absolute best spots so that your horticultural efforts will thrive. This is key when you are trying to start a backyard garden.
If there are existing trees in your yard, take notice of where they cast their shade, and plan on planting your sun-loving vegetables and flowers in these areas. If you’re dreaming of a little shade garden full of lushly verdant hostas and ferns, take note of where the shade falls your yard, particularly during the hottest parts of the day.
3. Prepare Your Yard
Once you know what you’re planting, the next batch of spring planting tips is all about yard preparation. It’s important to prepare your yard before spring planting arrives. Here are 3 big tips for yard preparation:
Your yard preparation for spring planting should actually start in the fall. It is during this time when you can stake out where you want the plants for the new season, loosen the soil, mulch the area, and let the yard rest over the winter so it is ready for spring. If you can’t do any preparation in the fall, then do it in the spring after the threat of frost is over.
Loosen the Soil 6-8 Inches Deep
Before you dig into the ground, ensure the soil is dried out from winter. Soggy ground will compact and dry into large clods that will become harder to break. Do the simple clump test by picking up the soil and making a fist. If the soil clumps together into a mud ball, it is still too wet to prepare. After it dries out, loosen the soil as you are aerating (getting oxygen) into the yard that will help the plants grow.
Use a Soil Thermometer
Every type of seed has its own preferred germination temperature. Using a soil thermometer can help you test your soil and make sure it is warm enough for the seeds you are planting. Although you can make some estimates based on air temperature, a soil thermometer is necessary for determining whether the ground is ready for spring planting.
Plants need the right pH balance and nutrients to grow. Compost, fertilizers, and organic mulches such as leaves will add the right mixture of nutrients. Mix these up into the soil and begin setting your plantings for a beautiful flower bed or spring garden. If you are worried that your soil isn’t getting the right amount of nutrients, you can always perform a soil test. These tests are available at your local home improvement store as you can see what the pH balance is in the yard and get the right fertilizer.
4. Plant and Fertilize
Mid-spring is a great time to plant most varieties of both perennial and annual plants. However, if you live in an area that can get nighttime frosts up until June, it’s best to hold off on planting the more tender species until you’re certain that they’re safe from frost damage. If you can’t wait for planting any longer, you can also prepare to have covers on hand to protect tender new plantings when temperatures might drop.
Because all plants have differing fertilizing requirements, make certain to research the needs of each of the plants that you have selected and provide nutrition for them accordingly. Spring is also a great time to start a compost pile to use in next year’s garden. You’ll also want to make note of your spring plantings and be prepared to re-plant them if needed in a month or two, which is one of the summer gardening tips.
Enjoy Your Spring Plantings!
You have a beautiful custom home, so you should have a beautiful yard. By keeping these spring planting tips in mind, you can grow healthy plants year after year. Show off your wonderful yard to the neighbors who will be jealous and ask for spring gardening tips on how they can improve their own yards.