As the weather starts to turn for some and planting a garden becomes more than just a dream, it is time to prepare your soil and beds. Preparation is what will make your garden, whether flowers, fruit, or fresh veggies, the most successful. As a few of us still battle winter storms, for those who are ready to start planting, follow the steps below.
Hopefully, you fixed any broken railings and cleared debris last year before the garden season ended, but if not, this is your first step. Replace old boards around raised beds and clear any left over debris from last season or this past winter. Your next step is to prepare the soil. Begin by loosening the soil and then mixing in well seasoned manure or compost to help nutrients mix into the soil. This will hopefully occur a few weeks before you plan to plant. After working over the soil, blanket the bed with a half inch of good compost. If possible, a full inch is even better. Mix in some organic fertilizer to meet the needs of the plants you will soon plant. This can vary based on what you choose to put in your garden.
When you are ready to plant, especially in the spring, choose hardy and semi-hardy vegetables for early spring harvests and then again in late summer for fall harvests. These plants should appear in your local garden centers at the right time. Hardy vegetables tolerate hard frosts for those who want to plant, but have unpredictable weather. The hardiest are kale, spinach, and collards as they can tolerate temperatures in the teens, but broccoli, cabbage, leaks, mustard greens, radish, and turnips are also quite hardy. For those who live in areas that are still having light frosts, vegetables such as beets, carrots, and cauliflower will survive well to about 30 degrees with light frost. Other options are Irish potatoes, Chinese cabbage, and celery.
So enjoy those warm days, if you are lucky enough to have them, and get out and spend a bit of time in the dirt. Your garden will thank you with a luscious garden later in the year.