Even if it is cold out and there is snow on the ground, you know that winter always turns to spring. Now’s a great time to start planning your spring landscape. Get your notebook out, sharpen your pencils and start thinking about what you would like your outdoor oasis to look like.
If you start now, before spring, you will have more time to play around with ideas on paper, and if you change your mind, start over. Having the extra time will also allow you the freedom to create more than one plan, and eventually pick the best one.
Just because you had sunflowers and daisies this year does not mean you have to have them next year.
Now is also a great time to decide what and where you will grow your tomatoes, herbs, peppers and berries. Thinking about growing something new this year? (Hatch chilies, maybe?) Make notes and keep track of what you would like to grow, the chances of success and where you will place them in your garden plot.
Clear And Prune
Clear out any leaves, debris, and dead branches that are sitting around after bad weather to uncover the ground. Remove other dead plant material (dead roots, leaves, and stems, any weeds) to prevent them from introducing diseases and insects that can infect your new spring garden. Discard or burn these, and keep them out of your compost bin. It is also a great time to prune, trim and shape bushes and trees and trim off dead branches.
Prep Your Soil
Use a pitchfork to turn your soil, clear out any weeds and add compost or manure to help nourish the soil ahead of planting. You do not want to add anything too close to planting time, or you will run the risk of burning your plants.
Check Your Equipment
If you have put your gardening tools away for the year, take time now to make sure everything is clean and in good working order. Are your gardening clippers a little stiff or getting rusty? Take care of that now. Replace broken handles or other damaged equipment during the winter, when most people are not out buying gardening tools.
Do a quick inventory and inspection of your gardening implements. Are you missing a part for one of your tools? Did you misplace something? Do you need a specialized piece of equipment? Maybe you need to replenish some of your consumable supplies, like fertilizer or growth hormone. Order these items now, before everyone else is in the market for gardening equipment and supplies. You will be ready to roll when spring comes around.
Is there anything better for a gardener than seed catalogs? The vast possibilities of so many different varieties of flowers, shrubs, trees and other plants are enough to make a gardener lose track of time.
If you get seed catalogs, now’s the time to make a pot of coffee or tea, curl up by the fireplace and enjoy perusing them. Entertain yourself with the myriad of things you can plant to create a unique landscape. Make note of the seeds you normally order, and what you might like to try out this year. See which vendor has the seeds you are interested in (and if this new plant will grow in your region.) Check your grow zone region to make sure this new plant can grow and thrive.
Start placing your seed and plant orders now or right after the holidays, to make sure you have everything you want to plant.
Start Sprouting Indoors
If you have the room, do not wait until its planting time to start your seedlings. Have a bay window or a sunny windowsill or two? Start planting in small pots, and watch the little seeds break open and start sprouting. Your plants will be established and ready to plant once the last frost has passed. .
If your lawn is a bit lackluster, it may be time to contact a landscaping service to improve its appearance and color.
● Fertilize! Fall and winter are the time to fertilize, so that grass, foliage, and other plants have time to slowly absorb nutrients they may have burned off during the summer. When spring comes, they will grow back lush and greener.
● If you are still mowing, gradually mow lower. Tall grass can be a breeding ground for mice and other animals that like to burrow while looking for warm places to sleep. These animals will destroy parts of your lawn by using the grass to build their nests.
● Clear off any lawn furniture, toys and other things that weigh down on the grass after the last mowing.
● Keep sidewalks and other paths clear so that people are not tempted to walk on the dormant grass. Pressure can damage grass, and the weight of a car, tire or other large objects can significantly damage the grass, leaving dead and thin spots.
● Repair and refurbish your lawn mower after the final mowing so it will be ready for the first mowing of spring.
If a fair amount of rain is in the forecast, you could lose valuable soil to erosion. Add a thick layer of leaves to your land to prevent excess erosion, and remove them in the spring when it is time to plant. Alternately, you can plant cover crops, grasses, and legumes that will cover the ground in winter. Plough these under in spring, providing needed organic matter and nutrients to the soil.
Winter Is Prep Time
Anyone who enjoys getting out and gardening hates to sit inside and wait for spring. However, take advantage of your current winter downtime to prepare for the inevitable spring that is coming. Prepping now means you will do less menial tasks when you would rather be getting your hands in the soil and enjoying the view. Start planning your spring landscape today!