Anyone who takes pride in their blossoming garden every spring knows that it takes hard work and a lot of time to make it look that good. We’re talking year-round work, such as prepping your garden in the cold months so it looks its best come March, April and beyond. Hey, someone’s gotta do it.
Here are six ways to prep your garden for spring, with tips from New Jersey landscaping and horticultural pros.
- Clean your garden. Spring cleaning should be done inside and outside. With a pair of gardening gloves and some hedges, walk through your garden and yard and prune any debris, weeds or dead leaves. Wash all your planters so they don’t get bugs, and take inventory of your gardening supplies and pottery so you know what you might need to replace (some things you’ll want to have on hand are potting soils, weekly fertilizers, clippers and trowels, says Country Greenery in Cape May). If you can’t do all the cleaning yourself (leave those large wilted branches for the experts!), ask your landscaper or gardener how they can help.
- Prep the surrounding area. What’s the point in having a garden if animals will come and destroy it? Make sure you fix or set up a fence or a gate around the garden to protect your precious plants and produce from neighborhood critters, the Mendham Garden Center suggests.
- Prepare the soil. You can start preparing your soil once the frost has lifted. Winter hardens the soil, so you’ll need to loosen it up before you start planting. Dig about eight inches deep to help loosen the topsoil and allow for more air and water to reach the roots, according to Ridgewood-based Goffle Brook Farms.
- Fertilize the soil. Fertilizing sooner than later ensures the plants will be healthy as they grow back in. To do this, Chris James Landscaping in Waldwick recommends digging little holes two feet apart from the drip line, making sure the holes are two inches deep, and filling them up with fertilizer.
- Make room. Whether you’re using pots, boxes or an open bed of dirt, seeds should be given ample space to grow and absorb water and nutrients; ideally you’ll leave about two to three feet per plant.
Need more help with your spring garden prep? Watch this video by the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station of Rutgers University, which explains how to start a garden from scratch or how to make improvements to your pre-existing one.
And stay tuned for the spring issue of NJ HOME and our Instagram @njhomemag for more gardening and outdoor tips and tricks.