Now is the ideal time to start preparing your garden for the summer months, since the weather is slowly but steadily improving. Starting now will allow you to make the most of your outdoor area throughout the warmer months of the year, and there are a few tasks you can start with right now to start preparing your garden for the summer.
As the calendar changes to spring, it's time to get outside and start getting your garden ready for the summer's harvest of flowers and veggies. Here are ten critical chores that will help you get off to a good start.
Check for any beds that need to be cleaned, plant damage from snow and ice, and displaced or rotten hardscaping. Deer or rodent damage to woody plants should be noted. It's a good idea to keep an eye out for new animal tunnels made by pest species such as skunks or rabbits. Prioritize your list and write it down in a garden journal—seasoned gardeners know how important it is to keep track of what happens in their gardens each season. While your plants are still dormant, you may wish to repair damaged hardscaping such as broken fences, trellises, and raised beds first. The optimal time to create new raised beds is in the spring.
Before you start working, stretch! Stop gardening every now and then to do some basic exercises. Shoulder soreness can be caused by hoeing, excavating, and raking. Try shoulder shrugs by slowly raising your shoulders toward your ears, holding them there, and then slowly releasing them. Repeat the exercise three or four times, pausing for a few seconds between each repetition. To avoid lower back problems, don't bend down to plant or weed; instead, get down on your hands and knees. The cat stretch is a great exercise to do in this position: lift your stomach and back into an arch like a cat waking up from a nap.
Clean, sharpen, and oil your tools. Fill the tyres on your wheelbarrow, sharpen the blades on your lawnmower, and maintain your mower.
The best time to feed the soil without disturbing the plants is early spring. Contact your Extension office for a soil test kit if you have never had your soil tested or if it has been a couple years since your last test. This easy test can reveal whether your planting beds and lawn are deficient in important nutrients for optimum growth. Top dress your beds with an inch or two of compost after you've added the prescribed amendments. This is something I do every spring. Start a compost pile if you don't already have one; the Extension office has extensive instructions for this gratifying hobby. In the meanwhile, you can buy compost by the truckload or by the bag. Many home gardeners abuse fertilisers, resulting in nutrient deficiencies.
Garden lighting can help to create a warm ambiance and allow you to spend time outside after the sun has set. Fairy lights and festoon lighting are two popular outdoor lighting alternatives right now that will help to set the mood and create a relaxing environment.
The winter months can be hard on decking and patio areas, spring is a good time to clean them up so you can start enjoying them right away. Cleaning a patio and deck with a power washer can be quick and straightforward, but be careful not to scrape any paint if you're cleaning the deck.