Use This Gardening Guide to Get Started for Spring

Winter winds may still be blowing, but its not too early to begin thinking about your spring garden. In fact, there are many things you can do now to get things ready for when Mother Nature blesses us with warmer weather and spring showers. Dust off those gardening gloves and start channeling your inner gardener!

Order Seeds Early

The perfect gardening activity right now, is to peruse seed catalogs, plan out your garden on paper and place your seed orders now. It can take weeks for your seeds to arrive and once they do, you might want to get a leg up on the growing season and start your seeds indoors about 6-8 weeks ahead of the frost-free date in your zone.

Stay Sharp

Don’t wait to take care of your outdoor gardening tools until later. Take advantage of this down time now by sharpening things up now. Pruning shears, shovels and even lawn mower blades can all benefit from some upkeep. Your local hardware store may offer sharpening services, so all you have to do is drop them off and pick them up a few weeks later. Make repairs and paint flower boxes, lawn furniture or any garden décor. Think ahead to what kind of outdoor garden décor, such as birdbaths, planters or garden statues and take advantage of the best selection and early spring sales.

Mark Your Calendar

Before you get ahead of yourself, be sure to know what the right planting time is for your neck of the woods. Find out when the last frost date is for your area and plan your gardening accordingly. There are many online sites that provide general zone information. Or check with your local gardening clubs for their take on the perfect timeframe to start digging in.

Trim Things Up

Winter is the best time to prune many trees and shrubs, before new growth and warm weather can increase the risk of disease. Check your trees and plants for any winter damage, such as heavy snows that may have broken limbs, and clear out dead branches now. Prune fruit trees and grapes in late February/early March after much of the winter cold has passed.

Work on Your Compost

For good reason, compost has earned the title of superfood of plants. Get a compost bin and start now to turn food scraps, leaves and coffee grounds into a nutrient-rich fertilizer that will supercharge your garden this spring.

Prep Your Soil

You’ll be glad later on that you took time to get your soil ready now. As the ground begins to thaw, take time to break up the soil, rake it and aerate it. Replace nutrients that last year’s garden used by adding the right nutrients for your soil and region. Check with a local gardening store for their advice on the right additions and pick up a soil test kit to determine if your pH balance needs attention.