The lull after all the winter holidays can make it seem like there’s a long wait before planting season is upon us. While there’s no possibility of planting seeds when the ground is still cold and wet, that doesn’t mean you can’t start preparing for your Spring garden in winter. Earlier preparation means Spring won’t spring up on you. Planning is important for any garden, but you have to prepare in early spring for a blooming summer and in winter for a bright spring.
According to gardening experts at Lowe’s, January and February aren’t good months for gardening. There are some plants like potatoes that you can put down in December, but for the most part, cooler weeks in January throughmid-Marchh can be too cool to really garden. That said, there’s a ton of things you can do while it’s still chilly to get ready for those warmer, wet Spring months when you’ll be ready to garden outside.
Survey Winter Damage
This is first and foremost before anything else. When it starts warming up a bit outside and it seems like the winter storms are past us, it’s time to start checking for the damage. If the winter storms blew down a few wood planks or destroyed one of the planting beds, this is the time to figure that out, so it can be repaired long before its time to start planting. Don’t forget to check your gutters as well, because they’ll be getting flooded with spring rains.
Look Over Your Garden Tools
Unless you take care to pack your tools away (and also check on them regularly), another thing you should do before Spring is here is check your tools. Between winter drafts and moisture, there could easily be rust on any of your tools. This is also the time to consider replacing frequently used tools and even increasing your tool collection by one. You can also clean everything with machine oil to make sure things like clippers move smoothly.
Check Your Soil
Did you think you just stick plants in the ground and they grow? Hardly. Soil needs to be primed to give plants what they need. Winter is also the time to start checking your soil to see the nutrient levels. During the year as your plants grow, they use up certain nutrients. This means that in the spring, the soil can be depleted of some minerals. No worries, however, soil can be treated with the right fertilizer. Lucky for you, well before planting time is the best time to doctor up your soil for the coming planting season.
Clean Up Perennials
Perennials are plants that live for more than two years, just in case you didn’t know that and you’re new to the whole gardening thing. During the winter perennials can start looking rough because it can get too chilly even in mild climates. While most perennial plants perk up considerably in spring, they still need their own personal care. Trimming and pruning these guys before planting season is the best course of action. Doing it while the plants are still dormant, i.e. in the cooler months, will let them conserve their energy for new growth in the spring.
Do not rely on the hardware store to have all of the seeds you need for the whole season exactly when you need to plant. And you shouldn’t risk having to settle for vegetables that you aren’t interested in growing just to get something in the ground. If you plan and purchase your seeds in advance, you have so many more options. You can decide how you want to organize your plants for maximum nutrient absorption, best light location, and more. Not only that, but you can even start seeds inside and be able to put little plants in the ground when it’s time.
When it starts to warm up a bit and you’ve recovered from all the holiday eating and partying, you’ll be ready to jump in the garden. If you still can’t actually get outside, the next best thing is planning and getting your garden ready to go when it’s warmer. While you may still be thinking of mistletoe, you can be getting your soil ready for new roses, for example.