Spring Gardening Tips
It’s been a long time coming, but spring is finally on its way and we can all enjoy some much deserved sunshine. Now is the time to start preparing your garden for its main growing season. Here are some great tips to help your garden spring into action:
All gardens need a good tidy up after a long, hard British winter. Rake up leaves and cut back any dead branches. Start the battle against weeds early to give yourself a head start later on with the ground clear it’s easy to spot the invaders at this time of year.
If you didn’t get round to doing it in the autumn, now is the time to turn the soil. Being careful not to damage any delicate roots, turn a fork’s depth over, breaking it up as you do. If you have any piles of leaves left over from the autumn, sprinkle on top to discourage the weeds and provide a lovely layer of nutrients.
Finally, mow your lawn it will instantly transform how your garden looks, and the smell of newly cut grass instantly makes you think of warmer weather!
Take a good look at the trees in the garden and remove any dead or diseased branches which may be dangerous. Call a professional tree surgeon for the removal of large limbs or high branches which are difficult to reach.
Sow your spring garden
With such a late spring, the ground is not warm enough yet to plant seeds. Wait until the soil has warmed up, and we are past the risk of frost. If growing under glass or plastic, you could warm the soil in advance with a thick layer of manure, or if that doesn’t appeal, plastic sheeting can do the job. Cover the area where you want to plant your crop, secure the plastic with bricks or pallets, then leave for 2 or 3 weeks to allow the soil to warm.
It’s also a good idea to wait a little longer to buy your bedding plants (despite the beautiful displays in your garden centre). A late frost could finish them off or at least weaken them and destroy delicate leaf tissue.
Caring for Bulbs
Spring bulbs are a pleasure at this time of year and a sure sign that the weather is improving. Once the bulb has flowered, wait before cutting down the leaves. Let the plant yellow and drop before cutting it down, so that all the nutrients go back into the bulb for the next year. If the plants have started growing too close together, or have produced smaller flowers than usual, they may be overcrowded and not getting enough nutrients. Don’t be afraid to dig them all up and replant.
Feeling jealous of your neighbors” bulbs? Now is the time to plant summer bulbs, such as Lily and Dahlia. They offer a wonderful splash of color in the summer months and are always such a pleasant surprise when they break through the soil.
Grow your own vegetables
Creating a vegetable garden is a real adventure, and a fantastic way to teach children about where our food comes from. If there’s still frost on the ground (and let’s face it, it’s likely!) you can start growing tomatoes in a greenhouse or windowsill. Spinach, lettuce and peas can be planted in early spring, and once it looks as though winter is finally behind us you can add carrots and leeks. Children will love the excitement of cooking with freshly grown vegetables, and it may even help them try something new.
Preparing your garden for spring is hard work, but once you’ve finished you’ll be rewarded with a tidy, attractive outdoor space that’s ready for you to enjoy as soon as the warmer weather finally arrives!
Ms. Jensen is a leading advocate for families and children and was the founder and president of ACES, The Association for Children for Enforcement of Support.
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