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Getting a Head Start on Your Outdoor Spring Garden

Many people anticipate the pleasures that accompany the spring season; the warmth of sunshine, the cheerful sounds of chirping birds, the fresh scent of newly cut grass, and the ability to watch tiny buds grow and flourish into nature’s works of art. Why not add to the merriment by creating your very own inviting outdoor spring garden? There is great news for those who are excited to get started. You can begin planning and prepping now and be on your way to creating a spectacular garden to enjoy come springtime.

Here are five useful steps to prep ahead:

  1. Decide what type of garden you’d like. Do you prefer potted container gardens, raised garden beds, flower borders, or perhaps large, mulched areas with plants?  To determine what is best, consider the richness of the soil in your area, the drainage, and whether you’ll want an extended growing season. Though inground gardens blend seamlessly into the landscape, there are some advantages to raised beds.  If your soil or drainage is poor, raised gardens may be more beneficial than in-ground gardens. That’s because raised gardens contain deep areas beneficial for root growth. Also, with raised beds, it’s often easier to control soil conditions.
  2. Decide what you will plant. There are many options to choose from, such as vegetable, herb, fruit, or flower gardens. If you’re looking for low maintenance, consider easy to care for plants that don’t require extensive pruning or feeding, such as day lilies, shade-loving shrubs, geraniums, hydrangeas, asters, ornamental grass and more. It’s vital to check the plant hardiness zone to determine which plants are most likely to thrive in your area. Determine how much shade or sun you’ll need for the type of plants you wish to grow. Also consider the plant’s strength and resistance to mold, mildew, and pests. Perennials are plants that return year after year and often require less upkeep than annuals. Newbies to vegetable gardening should consider growing easy crops like beans, carrots, cucumbers, and peppers. Flower gardens can be designed to attract specific animals, such as butterflies or hummingbirds. Garden kits can be purchased, or plants can be individually selected and planted.
  3. Decide upon the location of your garden. This is often predicated upon the existence of other outdoor features, available space, amounts of sun and shade required, aesthetics, access to water and more. A vegetable garden, for example, should be ideally located on level ground or on a gentle slope that is not prone to flooding, or in a raised bed. Having a south-facing garden can provide the maximum number of hours of sunlight during the day, so be sure to take advantage of this fact for full-sun loving plants such as fast-growing peonies and perennial geraniums.
  4. Dig into the details. Decide upon the size and shape of your garden. Measure your borders. Then do your homework. Make a list of everything required to build your garden and consider things like wood or lumber, barrels, tubs, containers, soil, mulch, fertilizer, stones and more. Begin to assemble some of the items you’ll need. Don’t forget the garden gloves and appropriate tools needed for planting. Understand how far apart plants require for optimal growth to determine how many to buy. When using seeds from packets, make use of the spacing guide to prevent the overcrowding of plants and to maximize beauty. Also, research plant compatibility to enable them to thrive.
  5. Do the prep work ahead of planting. This means clearing brush and debris from your garden area. If your project requires the removal of existing vegetation or grass, understand the labor involved and which tools are essential to make the job go quickly and efficiently. For example, a gas-powered sod cutter is handy for grass removal. Bear in mind it’s important to wait until you’re close to planting to remove sod, as you do not want to disrupt the soil or negatively strip soil nutrients.

These five steps are designed to help you get your lovely spring garden in motion. Whether you plant eggplant or roses, those plants which are well-maintained can bear a plethora of nutritious vegetables or fragrant flowers. Many knowledgeable gardeners share that spring is an optimal time for newbies to begin their own gardens. They remind us that there is likely no better way to welcome the season of new birth and renewal than with a spring garden. Not only is gardening a great way to stay physically fit, but the activity is also deeply gratifying. For those on the fence about gardening, start with one small plant to see if you like it. You never know; the hobby may grow on you.

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