The garden preparation you do now will bear fruit in a few months!

5 Ways to Prepare Your Garden for Spring

by Johnny Gunn

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Here we are in late winter or early spring, depending on that old ground hog, and it's time to start your garden preparation. This short list can make spring and summer that much more productive in your garden and, of course, your pantry. You are probably already being inundated with advertising, telling you it's time to plant. Pay more attention to your local weather patterns and history than those that want you to buy something. In some areas of the country, May 15 can be considered too early to plant. While in other areas, February 15 is just fine. Use your local wisdom to your best advantage.

Equipment - This is an excellent time to pull all of your equipment out of storage and make sure it's in good shape for the spring, summer, and fall work ahead. Spades and rakes should be clean and sharp. All the handles need to be checked for burrs, splinters, and cracks, and those with terminal problems need to be replaced.

Now is the right time to replace anything that won't make the year. Buckets, hoses, pots, and all other growing aids need to be brought up to your standards.

Garden Plan - A plan? We need a plan? Absolutely we do. Use the tallest plants you're going to have growing to shade those that need shade, and keep those that need full sun in the sun. Make a little drawing of your garden and indicate where the sun is during its arc across the sky, and mark what goes where. This will also help you with your watering schedule.

While putting the plan together, remember that you will be harvesting in a few months, and let the plan work for you so you don't have to fight off one vegetable in order to get to another.

Composting - Now is an excellent time to spread your compost pile over your garden area (if it's thawed) and turn it under. Tilling or spading the compost into the existing soil will allow all the good stuff to meld with what was left over from last year.

Helpers - If you use plant food, herbicides and pesticides, now would also be a very good time to check your supply and replace those that might be out of date or in short supply.

Patio Functions - My wife and I grill even when there's snow on the ground, so I might be jumping the gun here, just a bit, but now would be a good time to break out all the spring furniture and clean it up. Break out the pots and vases that will be planted and put the soil in. Again, make a plan so in the long run, there is very little work to be done when the seeds and little darlings get potted.

All of this makes for a well-stocked garden shed, a well-planned garden, and a patio prepared for a delightful spring and summer. Ribs anyone?

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