Every day brings us closer and closer to our favorite season, spring! And even though we are itching to get back into the soil, it is not quite time to start planting. But there are some things you can do now to get prepared for the upcoming growing season.
Do some basic maintenance.
Even if you do a great job in the fall of putting the garden to bed for winter, it is likely debris and plant matter has still littered the area. In the spring, about a month out from planting, start clearing the garden area of old vegetation and any leaves that landed there during the winter months. This is also a great time to clean your tools!
Start seeds indoors.
Don’t be intimidated! All you really need are some seedling trays, containers and a sunny window. For the containers, some organic gardeners will use compostable items like egg shells, newspaper and egg carton. Plastic starter pots are available at garden supply stores as well. Plant your seeds in a good seed-starting mix which is lighter than topsoil. Refer to packet instructions as to how many seeds to plant in one container. Water frequently and make sure the seedlings get several hours of sunlight every day.
Tend to your soil.
Conduct a soil test to determine the pH of your garden bed soil and which added nutrients will benefit it most. Compost, grass clippings, mulch or a synthetic fertilizer can be added to improve the soil and prepare it for planting.
Create a planting calendar.
Planting a garden is a balancing act between choosing the plants, understanding their growing season and knowing your hardiness zone. Cool-weather plants, like broccoli, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts, can be planted early. In colder climates, these should be planted in a raised bed and covered at night to prevent damage from frost. Lettuces grow quickly and can be re-sown throughout the growing season. Other plants, like tomatoes and peppers, should be planted only after any chance of frost has passed. Rotate your plants each soil to ensure the soil stays rich and nutrient.
Stock up on Ragan & Massey products.
No matter how many inches of mulch you put down, weeds always tend to find their way through. Using Ragan & Massey products, like RM18, can keep those weeds in check. It is ideal for spot treatment; just be sure to cover your desirable plants and spray on sunny, calm days when the spray is unlikely to drift. RM18 is a total weed control solution that can also completely clear your garden area, making it available for planting in just three days. RM18 is only absorbed by the plant and won’t harm the soil.