The days are starting to get longer, the bees are back to their busy work, and the yellow daffodils are shyly peeking out of thawing ground. Spring is here in all of its vibrant, colorful grandeur. But spring doesn’t just bring birdsong and blossoms, it also brings a whole lot of work for the intrepid gardener.
If you’re anything like me, you love your garden “chores” but often feel overwhelmed in the spring. There’s so much to do and so little time before the peak planting season — it can feel difficult to keep everything organized and know what needs to be done. I’ve put together a comprehensive spring gardening checklist to help you stay on track.
Choose one or two tasks from this list to accomplish every day and you’ll be ready to start planting for real in no time!
Plant Summer Flowering bulbs
Tender bulbs that bloom in late summer or early fall should be planted in the spring. Examples include dahlias, gladiolus, and tuberous begonias. Plant them in well-drained soil in a sunny area and cover them with soil.
Remove any weeds from the garden
Weeds can be a big problem for gardeners, as they compete for space and nutrients and can quickly take over if left unchecked. Pulling weeds early in spring gives your plants a chance to grow uninterrupted and will help you keep your garden looking neat and tidy all season long.
Don’t forget to add weed control products such as mulch or landscape fabric if necessary. This will help prevent future weed growth and keep your garden thriving.
Amend your soil with compost
Adding compost is one of the best things you can do for your garden, as it helps to add nutrients to the soil and improve its structure. Compost also retains moisture, which is particularly important in spring when temperatures are still cold and plants need all the help they can get.
Divide Fall Blooming perennials
Perennials need to be divided every few years in order to keep them healthy and productive. This involves digging up the plant and splitting it into several smaller pieces that can then be replanted. It’s a great way to get more plants for your garden without having to buy new ones! The best time to plant fall blooming perennials is in early spring, as soon as the ground thaws.
Start seeds indoors
Start vegetable seeds indoors in early spring, 6-8 weeks before the last average frost date in your area. This allows you to harvest fresh vegetables to harvest sooner and maximize your growing season. Make sure to use seed-starting trays or pots with drainage holes in the bottom and light soil that drains well.
Plant cold-hardy plants like lettuce
As soon as the ground thaws in spring, you can start planting cold-hardy vegetables such as lettuce, potatoes, spinach, kale, and chard. Plant seedlings or sow seeds directly into the soil.
Clean and remove debris from garden beds
Add removing debris from your garden beds to your spring gardening checklist. This could include leaves, sticks, and other plant material that has been left behind over the winter months. Removing this will make space for new plants and ensure a healthy growing season.
Adding a layer of mulch is an easy way to add nutrients to the soil and retain moisture. It also helps keep weeds at bay, which saves you weeding time later on.
Plant trees and shrubs
Spring is an ideal time to plant trees and shrubs, as it gives them the entire season to settle in and develop strong roots before winter. Wait until the ground has thawed and dig a wide hole that’s twice as deep and 2-3 times as wide as the root ball of the tree or shrub.
Get out and clean patio furniture
If you have outdoor furniture, give it a thorough cleaning. Take off any covers and wash them in the washing machine if possible. Then use a pressure washer or scrub brush and soap to get rid of any dirt or grime that has accumulated during the winter months.
Check your irrigation systems
If you have an irrigation system, check for leaks and make sure your sprinklers are functioning properly as soon as the ground thaws. This will help ensure that your plants get the water they need throughout the growing season.
You should also check any hoses and sprinklers and purchase new ones if needed.
Prep and clean garden tools
After a long winter, your garden tools are probably in need of some TLC. Clean them with warm soapy water and then oil and sharpen the blades to help keep them looking and working like new.
One of the joys of spring is watching birds flit around your garden. Filling up your bird baths and bird feeders with fresh water and food should be a priority task on your spring gardening checklist.
Perform garden maintenance
Check your hardscaping, such as edging, fences, and garden paths. Make sure they’re in good shape and repair them if needed.
Prune and remove dead foliage
It’s important to prune any dead or diseased branches and foliage from your trees, shrubs, and perennials. This will help promote healthy growth for springtime.
Clean and prep containers
If you use containers to plant in, spring is a great time to give them a good spring cleaning. Empty out any old soil and soak the pots in a solution of 10 parts water to 1 part bleach. Then rinse thoroughly and scrub with soap and water and a stiff-bristled brush. For a chemical-free option, soak in vinegar instead of bleach.
This will help remove any remaining debris and bacteria from last year and prevent diseases from developing in your plants this season.
Set up rain barrels
Rain barrels are an easy way to collect rainwater and use it to water your plants. Set them up on a flat, level surface near the downspout of your gutter and make sure they’re secure so they don’t tip over. Getting your water collection system in place before spring storms will help cut down on your water bill.
Start a garden plan
Once you’ve got all the spring gardening basics taken care of, it’s time to think about what you want to grow. Make a plan for your garden by sketching out where different plants will go, as well as a planting schedule and crop rotation plan.
Check to see if you need any supplies for spring gardening, such as fertilizer, soil amendments, seeds, and tools. Make a list of what you need so that you’re ready to go when spring planting season begins.
Check and add support such as trellises
If you’re planning on growing vegetables or flowers that need support, make sure to check your trellises and other support structures. Replace any worn-out materials and add more if needed.
Take a lesson from the bees: It’s time to get busy!
Following this spring gardening checklist will help you get your garden ready for spring planting and ensure everything is in order before the season begins in earnest. Doing these tasks now will save you so much time and headache and will ensure that you don’t forget a crucial step in prepping your garden for a vibrant growing season.