With summer (hopefully) right around the corner it’s time to start thinking about sprucing up our lawns and gardens. It can be tempting to want to jump in and get planting, but there’s some important cleanup work to do in order to get your garden in tip top shape. Today, I want to look at 10 easy things I do each year to give me a strong foundation to grow my gaden from!
A word of caution, for most planting activity you want to wait until the last frost before doing so. Frost is a big killer of plants, and even more so for young and newly planted ones. Personally, I live in a location that has gotten a big snow storm mid April for the past couple of years. I’ve made the mistake of planting too soon, so now I wait until May before doing any serious planting. Always keep your climate in mind before spending your time and money in your garden.
Start By Weeding
The first step to any garden is to clear out any straggler weeds from last year. It seems no matter how well you weed the year before there’s always some that creep back in.
Doing your weeding pre-planting is the easiest time to do so as there’s no plants to get in your way. It’s so much easier to weed when there’s no risk of damaging your plants. I always thoroughly comb through my flower beds, as well as any new planting locations and clear it out of any weeds. Luckily, this can be done almost anytime in spring, so I’ll do this a few times to make sure I didn’t miss any.
Inspect Trees/Shrubs For Winter Damage
The winter can be a bit rough on you foliage, so it’s a good idea to take a look and inspect any damage. This is also a great time to take a look do any sort of trimming or cutting. Summer is usually a pretty easy time for plants, so cutting them early gives them time to heal before the winter comes. Cutting too late in the season won’t give your trees enough time to heal, and can bring extra stress to your plants during the winter.
Rake and Restore Your Yard
This is also a great time to rake up any stray leaves and pick down sticks or branches. Like weeding, this is so much easier when you’re not worried about damaging any plants. While not the most fun activity, it’s essential to having a beautiful garden.
I also make sure here to pick up any sticks or other pieces of foliage that may have dropped around the yard. This is an ongoing task for the entire summer, but spending some time doing it at the start of summer helps set the tone for the season.
Start a Compost Pile
While not for everyone, this is a great time to start a compost pile. With lots of dead leaves or last years plants, you get a solid base to start from for free. Composting is pretty complex and outside the scope here, but suffice to say now is an excellent time to start.
Fertilize Your Soil
Before you plant is the best time to start improving your soil. A good batch of fertilizer before planting is a great way to start your soil off right. This is also a great time to take stock of your overall soil quality, and see if it needs improvement. All plants start with good soil; make sure to spend some time here to give your plants the best chance at success.
Consider Mulch to Control Weed Growth
If you’ve dealt with weeds in the past mulching is a cheap and effective way to help prevent them. It’s also something that is easiest to do at the beginning of summer before you have plants to worry about. Mulch is really a matter of opinion, so love it while others don’t.
Care For Your Lawn – Lawn Edging
Cleaning up your lawn is another important step in overall garden care. Lawns are notorious for sprouting weeds, and if you’re not careful they can be quick to spread to the rest of your garden. Giving your lawn defined edges is a good way to separate the two, and make the transition more difficult for weeds. Some people also like to use barriers like rocks or bricks to help define the edges, and keep weeds from spreading.
Refresh Your Pots and Planters
For those growing in pots and plants the beginning of summer is a great time to take stock of them. It’s the easiest time to replace any broken pieces, or clean up any dirty or older ones. It’s also smart to give a quick wash to any that were used last year. This prevents any sort of pests or disease from spreading to your new plants.
Clean Up Perennials
Now is also the time to start cleaning up perennials. Go through and remove any dead or dying branches to help your plants grow strong. These clippings are also a great addition to a compost pile if you go down that route.
Plan Your Planting
Finally, I always take a bit of time around this time of year to plan out my overall garden goals. It’s so much easier to garden with a plan, so take some time to come up with one. This can range anywhere from a full blown layout of your entire property, or simply a quick list of what you’re looking to grow.
Start Your Garden Off Right
The beginning of the summer is the most important time of year for your plants. Hopefully my list has given you some ideas to improve your own garden. Use this time to give you a great foundation to grow from all season long.