Spring is around the corner and you’ll soon be caught up in a frenzy of seed sowing, growing, and nurturing your garden as it comes back to life. Time to organize your thoughts and get a head start on the new gardening year. Read our useful guide for top tips on how to prepare you garden for spring.
1. Order summer-flowering bulbs and seeds
Order summer-flowering bulbs and seeds. Flowers like lilies, gladioli and ranunculi can all be ordered in the winter for early-spring planting.
2. Tidy up flower beds and borders
Have a general tidy up, removing leaves and other debris from flower beds and borders. You can cut back the old dead growth of deciduous grasses and herbaceous perennials.
Clear borders and beds back to bare soil. Put the dead organic matter you’ve cleared away into your compost pile or bin to break down. Remove any weeds you can see and either burn them or put them in your brown bin. Don’t compost them as the seeds will germinate and cause you more problems later on.
3. Clean out and wash your greenhouse
Now’s the perfect time to give your greenhouse a good clean, ready for the seedlings and cuttings of spring. Wash the outside of your greenhouse with disinfectant or detergent, to remove algae, moss and general grime. This will let in more light during the growing months, while removing potential homes for pests and disease. Make sure you disinfect the inside of the glass too - overwintering pests and disease can survive in the smallest nooks and crannies.
4. Sow any seeds that need a longer season
You can start sowing the seeds of plants which need a longer growing season, such as geraniums (pelargoniums), begonias, antirrhinums, peppers and aubergines. They'll need to be started in a heated propagator or similar to ensure good growth.
5. Hunt down and remove garden pests
If you still haven't cleared last year's pots of summer bedding then do so now, checking for white-vine-weevil larvae, which live in the compost and feed on plant roots. Destroy any larvae that you find and be prepared to treat for vine weevils this year, using parasitic nematodes or chemical drenches.
6. Install water butts and start collecting rainwater
Harvesting rainwater is essential for environmentally friendly gardening. Peak demand for water in the hotter months often forces water companies to resort to groundwater reserves and streams, which is harmful to the environment and costly for consumers.
Rainfall is the best type of water for plants. When you install your water butt, position it underneath a downpipe from your home or shed.
7. Move deciduous shrubs
Dig a circular trench around the shrub, giving it a wide berth. Try to take as much of the root ball as possible so it can re-establish itself in its new location as quickly as possible. When you replant your shrub in its new position, place it at the same level it was previously in the soil, and remember to water in well afterwards.
8. Maintain fences, gates and trellis
Check fence panels, gates and trellis for any sign of weather damage or decay. Fixing any broken structures now will give you more time to spend in the garden during the spring and summer. Replace any broken segments or structures.
Next, clean fence panels and gates with a power washer to remove dirt, moss and mildew. Use a stiff brush to help remove stubborn grime. Let the wood dry completely before applying two coats of stain, paint or wood preservative on a dry day.
9. Clean and sharpen gardening tools
Maintaining your garden tools will help preserve them, saving you money in the long run and helping prevent the spread of disease. Dirty secateurs are notorious for introducing bacteria and fungi to fresh pruning wounds.
10. Create a composting area
A compost area provides somewhere to put all your organic waste. Once it has broken down, you'll get a lovely, rich compost your plants will thrive on. Make sure you have a good mixture of grass clippings, vegetable peelings, paper and woody prunings. And to help the process along you'll need to turn your compost with a garden fork each month to keep it aerated.
Work your way through the list and you’ll be ready for Spring!
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