April showers bring May flowers – plus June strawberries, July tomatoes and more! It’s time to get your spring garden in order. Whether you have a spacious yard or a tiny balcony, a green thumb is possible with a little preparation. We’ll show you how!
P.S. We made a super easy, printable checklist for you!
Set up a container garden
If you don’t have a yard, a container garden may be appealing to you. What is a container garden? Instead of growing plants in the ground, grow them in pots or hanging baskets. A window basket would work as well! This is a perfect solution for an aspiring gardener that lives in an apartment. Grow basil, spinach, peppers and tomatoes right on your porch or balcony! Be sure to read the seed packets or the ID card that comes with your flowering plant. Some plants love sunlight right away whereas others like to hide in the shade until they sprout.
- Disinfect pots by soaking them in a 10% bleach solution for ten minutes. This kills bacteria, fungi, viruses and other organisms that can harm your plants.
- Remove mineral deposits and debris on clay pots with steel wool or a wire-bristle brush. Plastic pots can be cleaned off with a scoring pad. Rinse and let dry.
- Ensure pots have proper drainage. If your pots were not made with drainage holes, you can drill some yourself.
- Figure out how much light your plants need, as well as how much your space will get. Remember that outdoor tables can give your plants the leg up they need to soak up more sun!
Care for your garden tools
Gardening tools are a gardener's best friend. This may sound obvious, but how many of you have the right supplies? Even if you’re not a full-time gardener or landscaper, it may be worth looking into a few tools. Just a simple set of gloves and a trowel can make the work and clean up ten times easier for you.
- Tune up your lawnmower. Make sure to check your mower’s manual for specific details and recommended maintenance schedule.
- Clean your gardening tools. This includes removing soil from blades and hinges with a clean cloth, removing sap with a proper cleaner and using steel wool or sandpaper to remove rust.
- Keep those tools sharp! Use a whetstone, file or motorized sharpener to make your tools more effective and safer to use.
- Create a designated spot to store and maintain your tools. Keeping things clean and organized will make yard work feel more like a pleasure, instead of a chore.
Get your hands dirty
Quite a bit of preparation goes into growing a seedling. Seeds are very sensitive and each plant needs specific and unique care. If the temperature isn’t just right, for example, or if it frosts, or you water it too much… this could be the end of your plants’ lives. If you are patient and it turns out that your seedlings don't make it, don’t worry! There are seeds that need to be sown at each season. Just do some research and find a new plant that needs to begin growing in that season.
- Test soil for workability. The snow may be gone, but that doesn’t mean your soil is ready to go. Grab a handful of soil and squeeze your hand into a fist. If the soil crumbles, it’s workable, but if it compacts, you need to let it dry out more before planting.
- Test the pH of your soil. Soil that’s too acidic or alkaline won’t have the proper nutrients for your plants, so you’ll want to check with your county extension office to learn how to test and optimize your soil.
- Sow seeds and transfer seedlings outdoors after your area’s last frost date to prevent cold weather from damaging your plants.
- Be on the lookout for pests and weeds right away. It’s much easier to get rid of unwanted plants and animals before the problem gets out of hand!
Is your spring garden ready?
It may seem like a lot of work now, but like most things in life, the results outweigh the effort you put into it. In a matter of weeks, you’ll be able to kick back and enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of your labor.
Make sure your deck or patio is worthy of your gorgeous garden! Check out our huge selection of outdoor furniture and accessories for ways to create the perfect space for relaxing and outdoor entertaining this summer.
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All photos used with permission.
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