This brief seasonal garden guide provides the basic steps for keeping your garden in great shape year-round…
Most people think of the beginning of spring as the start of “garden season.” As the weather starts to turn, you know that you can get back out there and start working on your garden again. While it is true that spring is a prime season for gardeners, there is no reason to limit your activities to the spring and summer.
Although you may have to save using your electric chainsaw to trim branches for summer or fall, there is always something you can do in the garden, no matter the season. With an understanding of seasonal gardening, you can grow and maintain your garden all through the year.
Spring is the time of most dramatic change for most gardens. Once the ground starts to thaw, you can begin planting perennials and preparing your garden for the growing season. However, due to the major changes that occur during this season, you need to understand the various steps that should be taken during different stages of spring.
With the ground still hard from the winter, early spring is a great time to prepare your garden. Clean it up by removing any debris that may be left over from the fall and winter. You should also nourish the soil by applying a good organic fertilizer. It’s a good idea to use a lightweight wheelbarrow to help you carry materials across the ground to your garden area. You’ll avoid straining yourself before you get a chance to plant your garden, and its lightweight nature means the wheels are less likely to damage your grass.
As you get within two or three weeks of the last frost, you can then plant some of your perennials and cool-weather vegetables. After the last frost has passed, it’s time to plant the rest of your vegetables and start seeding or transplanting your annuals.
When the temperatures start to rise, you will probably see some of your spring plants start to bloom. The earlier parts of summer are a good time to plant some summer annuals or perennials. In regions where the summer heat is intense, you will want to avoid planting or transplanting during July and August. Get your planting out of the way in June and then plan for maintenance during the rest of the summer.
The summer heat also means that you need to pay more attention to watering. The soil can dry out quickly as the days get hotter, so hydration is an important part of helping new plants take root during the summer. Water the soil thoroughly before planting and keep watering the roots as the new plants integrate in with your garden.
Maintenance is an important part of fall gardening, but you also have the opportunity to plant bulbs that will be ready to bloom for spring, as well as hardy fall and winter vegetables. However, you do have to plant early to give your plants a chance to take root and become established before the ground starts to freeze.
At the beginning of the season, you should start by cleaning up your beds. Remove any dead and diseased plant matter that may affect your garden next spring and apply a layer of mulch to ensure your soil is ready for the colder months ahead. Once your soil is ready, you can then start planting your bulbs and other fall and winter crops.
You won’t be doing any planting during the cold winter months, but it is an important time for maintaining your garden. The winter can be rough on perennial plants, trees, and shrubs, so you need to do what you can to protect them from the harsh conditions.
One step is to regularly inspect your garden for signs of disease and pests. If you spot any issues, you need to address them as soon as possible. Furthermore, you should also do what you can to manage the soil temperature. Sudden temperature shifts can damage your plants, and the constant freezing and thawing can cause the soil to shift. You can protect against these risks by putting down a thick layer of winter mulch at the beginning of the season. For more tender plants, you may wish to cover dormant twigs with leaves or straw, or consider transplanting them into pots and moving them into a sheltered garage or basement for the winter.
By paying attention to what your plants need and keeping seasonal changes in mind, you can maintain a healthy and strong garden year-round.