Time to tidy up the winter sludge and mess outside and prepare for the warmer months in the garden, with these tips for getting your garden spring-ready.
As winter starts to fade the days start getting longer. We begin to see the sun again and we’re all itching to get outside and into our gardens. And now is the time to get your garden ready for spring.
Here’s some simple and effective tips to make your garden a place to enjoy this spring. And possibly save you hours further down the line.
Work on maintenance
This one is a good step, so you don’t have to do it later when you’re trying to focus on growing things. Look at the things that need to be restored or cleaned or cleared.
Clean your garden tools
Scrape off last year’s mud and this winter’s rust in preparation for the gardening seasons.
Have a look at your fences
Inspect your fences and gates for damage from the harsh weather and look to repair them in time for spring.
Repair any paths
If you’ve got a path in your garden have a look in the cracks for weeds. Give them a good old clean out, and maybe even bust out a jet wash if you’ve got one.
I’m sure a lot of us already have one, but it goes without saying that a compost bin is a great way to give life to your plants, and make use of you organic waste. If you haven’t got one set up already, now is the time. Here’s some advice on setting up a compost bin.
Save money on your water bill and swap out the hose to the tap with a water butt? Don’t waste that water when it falls from the sky absolutely free. Also should the unthinkable happen and there be a hosepipe ban, it could save your plants, having your own store of water.
Start pest control
Start by looking round your garden for all those pesky pests that are going to damage your plants and crops later down the line. Of course you’ll need to do this more than once throughout the year but it’s a good idea to start with a thorough clear out after winter when a few may have accumulated while you’re not in your garden
Tidy up the place
The best way to achieve a clean, polished garden is to give yourself a fighting chance by starting tidy. Just like decluttering at home, be firm with yourself. That shrub that looks dead, time to go. The garden furniture rotting in the corner, firewood. Start with a clean slate.
Tidy those flower beds
Make sure you are flower ready by cleaning up your flower beds, rid them of weeds and debris from trees and bushes that may have accumulated in the winter.
Clean out and wash your greenhouse
Clean the glass, both inside and out, and tidy up the planting areas in your greenhouse.
Organise and clean up your shed
Clean out all that winter dust and all those bugs in your shed, and spend some time organising your space ready for seed trays and places for your tools, bulbs, seeds, and chemicals.
Things you can sow in February outside
Get ahead on your planting this year and start sowing some crops in February
Garlic – last chance to plant is in February
Broad beans – best sown early, these beans are hardy and will thrive in early spring conditions
Salad onions – White Lisbon and Purplette can be sown now
Shallots – Longor shallots are suitable for February
Take a look at your soil’s PH balance
Liming is a really good way to balance your acidic soil and neutralise it for crops. You can get a Soil PH Meter to check on your soil, and there are so many products you can use to lower the PH. Some crops that need a neutral soil include:
Grab those shears and pruners and trim away those dead leaves and branches. Now is the perfect time to prune fruit trees, if you didn’t already in winter. Make sure you prune before the buds begin to break into bloom or you’ll stress the tree, and your crop won’t be as successful. It’s also the perfect time to prune summer-blooming trees before they start to push out new growth.
Get prepped for the birds
We all love watching birds enjoying their feed, frolicking around the outdoors. Make your garden an inviting place for all the wonderful birds out there so you can watch them in the spring. Some items that birds can feed from to include in your garden are:
Hanging seed feeders – they can attract birds such as robins, goldfinches, siskins, greenfinches, house sparrows, and tits
Mesh peanut feeders – good for allowing birds to only take small chunks of peanut rather than whole nuts they might choke on
Feeding table – some birds will not use feeders like blackbirds, doves, thrushes, and dunnocks and will only eat off the ground or a feeding table
Homemade feeds – half coconuts or pinecones covered in fat or vegetable suet, hung from a tree or a bird table
And some types of food for birds to enjoy are:
Seed mixes – very easy to purchase
Husk-free seed mixes – have their husks removed, less mess to clear up and some birds cant crack husks (such as blackbirds)
Organise and purchase your seeds and bulbs
Another good thing to do in the colder months is to purchase your seeds and bulbs ahead of time. Read the labels and begin to make a planting schedule so you know when things need to be sown/planted and which type of soil they need. Makes life a lot easier down the line when you already know what’s coming.
And finally… get your soil prepped
And of course, starting with a good base is important. Prep your soil by raking, getting rid of stones and debris, and adding a layer of mulch to keep the weeds down and care for the soil. It’s also a very good idea to add some fertiliser to the soil, it will pay off later down the line.
We’re all looking forward to a bit of sun and a bit of time in the garden. And now’s the perfect time to get ready to do just that, and get some gentle exercise whilst you’re at it.