As the days grow longer and the temperatures begin to increase, any gardener gets anxious to get out in their yard and get their hands dirty. But first things first: preparing your garden for a successful growing season is key at this time of year. To do so, you will need to get down to the dirt, literally, and prep your soil for the year. Before beginning, be sure your soil has thawed out from the winter months, or you could be creating more problems for yourself.
First things first, this is the time of year to get started on those weeds. The battle with them seems to never end, but if you get them by their root early on, you may be saving yourself some work in the heat of the summer.
Next, you’ll want to turn over your soil. By chopping it, digging it, or whatever method you use, this step will help to loosen the soil. Doing so will also bring unwanted bug larvae to the surface, where awaiting birds can have at ‘em. This will help keep your bug issues down for the year, as well as keep the birds happy.
After stirring up the soil, add mushroom compost, manure, or compost from your own pile to the soil and mix it in. You can also mix in a nitrogen-based fertilizer at this time which will help feed any type of plant. This step will begin fertilizing your garden for you before you even have plants in!
It's important to remember that even though you may be ready for warmer weather and your summer garden, not all plants are ready to go in on the first day of Spring. For early color in your yard, plant bulbs the autumn before, that will come up each year. Some of the earliest to come up are tulips, scilla and crocus, with daffodils, hyacinths and alliums blooming a little bit after.
Other flowers that can handle cooler temperatures include pansies, violas, primrose and ranunculus. These flowers are hardy enough to brighten up containers and beds early on in the season.
As the season wears on, and the days grow warmer, it becomes safer to plant summer annuals in your yard. The general rule is to wait until after Mother's Day, to avoid frost from hitting your plants. If you do plant more tender plants early, you will need to cover them with an old bed sheet to keep them safe from any light frost.