After winter’s slumber gardeners everywhere are chomping at the bit to get out into the garden, start sowing, pruning and raking. But where to start? When you decide to get your garden in order it can seem like a daunting task. But a little bit of planning and preparation goes a long way in the gardener’s world.
Here are 9 tips to get your garden in order… dig in!
Get Your Garden in Order by:
1. Spring Clean
The best way to get your garden in order is to stay on top of it in the first place by keeping it clear and tidy – it will save you time and work in the long run. As you prepare the garden for the growing season remember to clear borders, lawns and ponds of dead leaves and debris which may harbour disease and bacteria that will harm your plants. Also, trim back the dead growth of herbaceous perennials and deciduous grasses.
Include patios, trellises and decking in your clear-up, remembering to protect your plants from any harmful products. Before the arrival of Spring prepare your greenhouse for seedlings and cuttings by giving it a good clear and clean inside and out with garden disinfectant. This way you can reduce the risk of pests and disease taking hold. Include all the pots and trays and remember to ventilate the greenhouse for a couple of days afterwards.
And finally, don’t overlook your garden tools. By keeping them sharp and clean, you’ll improve performance. Plus save yourself money by prolonging their lives, as well as prevent the introduction of bacteria and fungi while pruning. Getting these jobs out of the way early will save you precious gardening time later in the season.
Early to mid-spring is a good time to prune unruly evergreen shrubs and hedging. A bit of hard pruning and some mulching and feeding will promote spring growth. Other plants may also need a little bit of love in preparation for spring with a little bit of trimming to stimulate new growth. Be aware that some plants like roses and Buddleia should not be pruned until the frosts have passed.
When pruning, start by removing dead or damaged stems as they attract insects and disease can develop. You should also look for and remove branches that are crossing. Even any lurking water sprouts or suckers that you find.
3. Work the Soil
If your garden soil is workable now is the time to dig in a layer of well-rotted manure, compost or green waste into your borders.
Now is also the time to rake and feed your lawn. By removing debris, you allow it to breathe and prevent water logging. You should also take this opportunity to make level any uneven areas and sow new grass seed where needed to give your lawn a boost.
4. Get Weeding
Spring is the time that weeds get going and, if you don’t stay on top of them, they will take over. Spray these repeat offenders first and then weed them out once they start to die. Remember to get the whole root out if you want your efforts to be efficient and if you are using weed killing products look for the most environmentally friendly option you can find. Chemical weed-killers are not only costly but can cause harm to kids and animals. Plus they may also leach into the natural water supply.
Salt and vinegar are two natural weed killers which you’ll find in your kitchen and are gentler on the ecosystem. You can make home-made weed-killer by the mixing washing-up liquid with vinegar or make a salt water solution to spray on weeds. Please be aware that you should not use salt on any areas where you are trying to grow other plants. As it sterilises the soil and is, therefore, best used only on paths, patios and driveways.
5. Deal with Pests
Save yourself trouble in late spring and summer by seeking out and dealing with pests that are still in winter hibernation. Look for slugs, snails and aphid colonies and take care to remove white vine weevil larvae from your compost.
6. Make Compost
After winter the bottom layer of your compost heap will be high-quality stuff ready for spreading in your beds. If you have a surfeit of the good stuff, you can always offer some to the neighbours.
If you aren’t already composting, then now is a good time to start. A compost heap offers the double benefit of a place gets rid of your garden waste as well a rich end product that goes back into the garden. A good compost should be a combination of green kitchen waste, grass clippings, paper and woody pruning. To keep it aerated turn the mixture over every few weeks with a garden fork.
You can buy a ready-made compost bin or construct one yourself quite simply using any spare bits of wood that you might have lying around.
7. Grow Your Own
If you are planning a kitchen garden this year, then get your seeds ordered in advance. If you have a greenhouse, you can start getting your containers ready for propagating, making sure that any pots you use are thoroughly clean before you start. You can even go DIY with your containers using yoghurt pots, egg boxes, newspaper or similar items.
For the best results remember to give your veg the sunniest spot you can offer in your garden with shelter and shade for those occupants that need it. Weeds and slugs are the enemies in your vegetable patch so it’s best to get on top of these early and keep up the good fight throughout the season.
Always follow the advice on seed packets and never plant earlier than recommended. It is better to sow your seeds in the middle or towards to the end of the planting window if you want your veg to do well.
Get your garden in order by planting bulbs such as Lilies and Gladiolus in the early spring for a beautiful summer flower display. For plants that have a longer growing season, like Geraniums, Begonias, Aubergines and Peppers you should start propagating the seeds in January or February.
Early spring is a good time to plant out your roses. This works best in a good heavy soil mixed with a generous amount of quality compost. For the best display find a nice open space with plenty of sun. Go for lots of colours in the garden. Remember to organise your beds with the taller plants at the back.
If you want to move any badly place deciduous shrubs, it is best to do this early when they are still dormant. Remember to dig out in a wide circle to keep as much of the root ball intact as possible and replant them in the same depth of soil to help them get established. Water well afterwards.
9. A Word on Water
Prepare for hot summer days and install a water butt to catch seasonal rainfall. Remember to position it under a downpipe to collect as much rainwater as possible. This is good for the environment and good for plants. Like Rhododendrons and Camellias, which prefer rainwater to tap water which may be slightly alkaline.
If you are new to gardening, then check out our 8 Gardening Tips For Beginners guide. Stay up-to-date with more advice on how to get your garden in order, interior design news and DIY tips by liking A Fancy Home on Facebook!