Spring Gardening Guide

After a dull, grey winter, seeing green is a gardener's dream come true. There is great anticipation knowing there is plenty to do to get your garden back in a working state and filled with plentiful perennials and vegetables. The start of spring is typically spent restoring the health of soil, prepping garden beds and planning for the coming months. These to-do's may be time-intensive, but are important to establishing a strong, healthy foundation for plants. More often than not, these spring garden maintenance and prep chores also help identify potential issues in your garden before they become larger problems down the road.
Stay efficient in the yard and know which tasks to cross off your list first to get your garden back on its feet with this spring gardening guide.

Cleanup: The first order of business is to remove all foreign debris that may have collected in beds over the winter. Most debris will include small rocks, leaves and fallen twigs and branches. If not removed in a timely manner, these objects can suffocate soil and cause drainage or compaction issues. Use a rake for a simple way to gather debris and level soil.  
Weed control: Weeds spend the winter germinating, so it's not uncommon to spot a surplus of unwanted weeds throughout your garden at the start of spring. Before you amend or fertilize soil, examine your garden beds for weeds. The most effective way to remove weeds is by digging them out, with root intact, rather than pulling them straight from the soil. This method ensures you're removing the entire weed and helps prevent regrowth. 
Compost: A simple way to boost soil with dense, rich nutrients is to mix in compost with a tiller or cultivator. Composts are easy to create and sustain year-round, and are loaded with natural nutrients that serve as fertilizer. Keep in mind, if you're planning to create a compost this spring, it takes about six months to a year to be ready for use. 
Take inventory: Know where your perennials are planted before you reach for your trowel to avoid damaging bulbs or crowding plants. For vegetable gardens, crop rotation - a gardening technique by which fruits and vegetables are planted in different areas of the garden every year - is often recommended to help maintain healthy soil and deter pests. 
Protect plants: It's important not to rush forcing plants you may have housed indoors or in container plants into your garden beds, as spring can have its share of cool temperatures, and even the occasional snow storm. While forcing is recommended for transplanting plants, be mindful of unexpected harsh weather conditions and the hardiness of your plants before exposing them to such conditions. If you're unsure if plants can handle the outdoors, wait a week or two when weather is more consistent.
The Dirt from Troy-Bilt®
February 2017