Spring Gardening: Tips from the Botanist

Gardening is good for the mind and the heart. It is a very therapeutic activity, and those with a conservatory or greenhouse are fortunate enough to be able to do it year round. Nothing adds more color and texture to your surroundings than plants and flowers, and in those cold, dreary months it almost feels like you’re living outdoors.
Now that spring is here once again, have you thought of what would you do with that vacant patch of soil outside of the conservatory? Spring is a great time for growing plants because the mild weather aids in their growth and development.

Here are some springs gardening tips to help you get started.

Prep your yard
Before you set up your garden, make sure that nothing would impede the growth of your plants. Remove any tree limbs that overhang structures and cut down last year’s perennial foliage. Take note offences, steps, and pathways that need to be repaired or replaced and be sure to refresh mulch in planting areas after soil warms.

Choose what to plant
After preparing your yard, the next step is to determine which plants you’d like to grow. Do you want to grow your own vegetables so you can have access to organic produce? Perhaps fresh flowers are your thing. Do some research on the spring flowers or vegetables you’d like to plant; this way, you’ll know exactly how to care for them and ensure their optimum growth and development.

Test the soil
Before you start planting, don’t forget to take a soil test to determine its pH or acidity levels. You can do this with the help of a home soil test kit. Be sure to take several tests to get an accurate reading. Depending on the result you’ll get, you can raise the soil’s pH level by adding dolomitic lime or lower it with elemental sulfur. If you’re unsure, a local nursery will be able to show you the products you’ll need.

Prepare new beds
Once the soil has the right pH level for the flowers or vegetables you want to plant, make sure to sod the soil and remove weeds and debris left by winter. Spread a four-inch layer of compost over the soil and cultivate it to a depth of 10 to 12 inches with a spading fork.

When planting, experts recommend doing this task on a cool, cloudy day if possible. If you need to transplant container-grown plants, this should be done anytime except during midsummer when the heat is stifling.

Water your plants
Watering frequencies usually depend on where you live. For instance, if you are living in rocky and mountain areas where the soil is most likely to be fast-draining, you should water your plants more often.

Generally, you should start watering your spring plants sometime in mid-April, about once every seven to ten days. When the weather starts heating up, you should increase your watering frequencies to about once every five to seven days.