Can’t wait to get gardening? Tackle these early spring garden tasks now, and you’ll have a head start when spring finally arrives!
If you live in a cooler climate, this time of year it can feel like spring will never come! If you’ve got “spring fever” and just can’t wait to get out in the garden, don’t worry – there are plenty of early spring garden tasks you can tackle right now to pass the time until planting season. Getting these chores done now will get them out of the way for later, so you can spend more time outside in your garden doing the fun stuff when spring finally gets here!
Here are 3 late winter/early spring garden tasks to take care of right now, according to ModernFarmer.com:
1.) Prep Your Tools
- Take gas-powered equipment in for a tune-up: Sharpen mower blades, change spark plugs, drain and replace fuel, top off the oil, and check to make sure everything still works as it should…
- Repair and restore digging tools: …Some gardeners go so far as to sharpen the digging blade of their shovels with a coarse file each year, but at the very least it’s nice to wash off any accumulated dirt, dry down the blade, and spray it with penetrating oil to ward off rust.
2.) Give Your Yard Some Love
Winter has a way of leaving the yard looking like a bomb went off—sticks and debris scattered about and tattered, half-dead vegetation everywhere—so it’s high time for a bit of grooming to give the spring display of flowers the best possible backdrop.
- Rake and restore: Collect leaf litter and add it to your compost pile or stash to use as mulch when the summer heat hits; bag up sticks and run them through a chipper (if you have access to one) to make mulch, or put them on the curb for municipal pick up; rake up old mulch from your beds and add it to the compost pile; spread a ½-inch layer of finished compost over the bare soil to replace lost nutrients.
- Primp and prune: Pull out fall annuals that died over the winter and toss them in the compost pile; unwrap burlap coverings from evergreen shrubs and trim off and winter dieback (i.e. leaves and branches that have turned brown); any perennials and ornamental grasses that weren’t cut back in fall should be chopped down to about 4 inches tall to prepare for new growth;…prune ornamental trees, shrubs, and vines to remove dead wood, control their size and to enhance flowering and overall appearance; if you didn’t get to it over the winter, now is the last chance to prune fruit trees, grapevines and other food plants…
3.) Prepare Your Garden Beds
Once the soil in your vegetable garden is dry enough to not squish when you step on it, it’s time to start laying the groundwork for spring planting.
- Clean out: Remove any leftover veggies that didn’t survive the winter and toss them into the compost pile; pull out drip irrigation tubes to make way for tilling and planting; if you planted cover crops in the fall, mow them to the ground and then let the stems dry out for a couple weeks before tilling in the debris; if you mulched your beds in fall, rake off the mulch and add it to the compost pile.
- Top up the fertility: Spread a fresh layer of compost on your beds—1 to 2 inches is ideal…; add supplementary nutrients like lime (for acidic soils), sulfur (for basic soils), bone meal (for phosphorus), greensand (for potassium), and kelp meal (for micronutrients)…
- Sort your seeds: If you haven’t picked out seeds and gotten some started indoors, now* is the time!
* Note: If it’s more than 6 weeks before your last frost date, you may want to wait to start seeds, but for many areas of the U.S. you can start them now or in the next week or two.