While winter may not be completely over (depending on where you live), it’s time to start thinking about getting ready for spring planting! Getting ready for spring planting is a practical activity that prepares your garden for spring plants, and it makes the growing season go more smoothly when you have a plan and start early. If you’re thinking about having a garden this summer, here are some tips on getting ready for spring planting…
1. Start Saving Empty Food Containers
Whenever you use lettuce, strawberries, or other foods that come in a clam shell container, save the container. They often have convenient holes in them for drainage and circulation. Fill them with soil to make excellent seed-starting containers.
Other containers you can save for seed starting are:
- Yogurt cups
- Paper cups
- Egg cartons
We’ve started our own collection of empty toilet paper rolls and empty egg cartons for starting our seeds this spring. Not only are we able to keep waste out of the landfill, but the paper-based products are perfect for starting seeds as they’ll decompose naturally when planted in the ground or larger containers.
2. start making Compost
If you haven’t started composting, do so now. Set up some sort of containment system, such as a bit of portable fencing against your house or deck fence, or a garbage can with holes drilled in it. [You can purchase a composter on Amazon or at your local lawn and garden store.]
Once you have a composting system set up, add leaves, yard waste, newspaper shred, and kitchen scraps. Stir it periodically and, if you have access to worms, add them as well. If it’s still very cold, composting goes slowly – you can help by putting the compost pile in a sunny location or even starting it in a bin indoors.
If you’re new to composting, be sure to check out Organic Composting: Reduce Waste, Save Money, and Improve Your Garden for tips and tutorials.
3. Get Out the Seed Catalogs
It’s time to start thinking about what you want to grow in your garden this summer. Grab a seed catalog and start making a list of seeds to order.
Look over your notes from last year’s garden:
- Which plants grew well?
- Which plants failed (and why)?
- Are there some plants that would grow better in a sunnier/shadier part of the garden?
Order your seeds early so that you can begin planting indoors at the right time for those seedlings to be ready for moving outdoors in late April or May – depending on your climate and the optimum time for outdoor planting.
4. Take Advantage of Warm Days
Whenever the late winter or early spring weather is warm enough, get outside and begin to work the soil in your garden. This not only helps aerate the soil and assist with decomposition of leaves and such, but it also makes the initial turning of the soil in springtime easier. Spreading this task out over a few months and weeks is a great way to save yourself from having a sore back and muscles.
5. Prepare Your Tools
Nothing puts a damper on spring planting like not being able to find your tools, or finding them rusty and dirty. Get your gardening tools organized and ready, and clean them by scraping off dirt and rust. An abrasive pad and oil will help remove rust and restore shine and mobility to tools like clippers.
Tip: storing tools in a bucket of sand is best for preserving them and keeping them sharp.
How do you get ready for spring planting?
Will you be planting a garden this year? Living in an apartment complex (and hoping to move mid-summer), we’re limited on what we’re able to do, but we’re looking forward to having a few containers on our balcony with a handful of our favorite garden vegetables and flowers.
Gardening together is a great way for families to spend time together!