Goodbye Winter, Hello Spring!
It’s not only April showers that bring the May flowers. After a long and frigid winter, your garden needs a little extra love and support to get started now that spring has arrived.
As soon as the snow begins to clear away, you can get outside and start your outdoor cleaning. After being exposed to a wide range of elements throughout the late fall and winter, your garden will need to be thoroughly cleared and cleaned before you start thinking about any beautiful flowers. Clear your beds and surrounding areas of any leaves, old grass clippings, twigs and branches. This will give you a fresh working space to start a new gardening season with a clean slate.
Late winter and early spring is also a great time to prune any of the bushes or trees on your property. Look to remove dead or broken branches, shaping the trees and bushes to your liking.
Soil Soil, Weeds are in Trouble
Now that your garden is clear and clean, you can begin to focus on your soil. You definitely want to wait until the ground is no longer frozen, ensuring that the soil has had time to dry out a little. If you are unsure if the ground is too wet or not, grab a handful of dirt from a loose section and squeeze it in your hand. It should fall apart easily after you release your grip, but if it stays in a large clump in your hand, you may want to wait a few more days before starting.
After winter, the soil of many gardens becomes hardened and leached. You will want to use a shovel or pitchfork to turn all the soil over, bringing the deeper soil up to the surface. Once you have turned the soil in your garden, look to remove any weeds by hand or with a rake.
This is the ideal stage of garden building to add fresh compost or store-bought manure which adds nutrients back into the leached soil. Remember to work your compost into the garden thoroughly and give it a week or two to mix with the existing soil. This is especially important with potent, fresh manure which can contain high levels of urea nitrogen which burns the roots of new plants if they are introduced too quickly.
Get out the hose and ready your elbow grease. It is now time to clean your gardening tools and your greenhouse if you have one. This is a crucial step that many people skip over, which can cause BIG problems later on. Your tools can carry pests and diseases that could be harmful to the new garden that you are carefully planning out. If you do have a green house, remove EVERYTHING and clean every nook and cranny. You will be surprised where you find some little hibernating pests, waiting to make your spring garden an all-you-can-eat buffet.
The Perfect Plan
Now that everything is clean as a whistle, you can begin to get creative and brainstorm what you want your garden to look like. If you are new to the area or to gardening in general, you may want to consult your plant hardiness zone to see what flowers and plants grow best in your area.
Every artist needs inspiration when creating a masterpiece. One of the best ways to get some gardening ideas is to head down to your local garden centre and strike up a conversation with a fellow gardening enthusiast! If you live in the area surrounding Kelowna, British Columbia, the team at Better Earth Gardens & Tropicals would love to give you some ideas. Planning out your garden may be the most important part of the process. Imagine a construction worker trying to build a house, piecing together wood blindly without the drawings and directions of the architect.
At Better Earth, we recommend mixing some annual flowers with your perennials; this will help keep your garden looking vibrant for a longer amount of time. Just like a class photo, you want the taller flowers and plants near the back of your garden so they don’t block the sunlight from the shorter flowers in your bed.
After you have decided what you want your garden to look like, it’s time to make it happen! In the early spring you can start to plant your dormant bareroot perennials (ensuring the soil is not frozen or too wet). Some annuals, such as pansies and violas can be planted at this time, although it is recommend that they are hardened-off first.
As spring continues to warm things up, you can start planting annuals that don’t mind weathering a late frost or two such as snapdragons and nemesia. If you have any perennials in pots, you can now look to plant those. Again, with all these spring plantings, hardening-off is recommended.
Once you are confident that the time for frost has passed, you can begin planting a wide variety of annuals and vegetables. If you need to transport any plants or delicate bulbs, now is the time to do so.
Are you creating a garden masterpiece around the Kelowna area? If so, we are excited to meet you at the Better Earth Gardens & Tropicals! Stop in today to learn more and select what flowers and plants you will be enjoying this season.