backyard gardening tipsSpring is just around the corner– is your garden ready? Whether you’re a fan of gardening or you are planning on starting your first garden, the process is pretty much the same for everyone. Find a place to garden, get your materials, and get started! We’ve started a list of everything you need to do, so check out our backyard gardening tips by reading on.

1. Plant your seedlings ahead of time or plan on going to the gardening store to buy seedlings.
Gardeners who are planning to grow their own seedlings need to do so ahead of the planting date for certain varieties. Some vegetables can go into the ground in March and April, but they need to get their head start indoors and grow bigger before that happens. So if you’re growing from seed and planting in later, make sure your schedule is lined up with the date you intend to plant at– and purchase seeds well ahead of time, whether in stores or online. If you’re planning on buying your seedlings from a distributor, make sure that you get there early to get the plants you want!

2. Either pull weeds or mulch the site of your garden. Alternatively, you can do raised beds for your garden.
If you’re growing your garden directly in the dirt in the form of a plot, you’re going to need to clean it up a bit for your incoming plants. You can also ‘mulch’ the site by putting down grasses and debris such as dry leaves left over from the winter. This will block light from coming in and keep weeds down while allowing your seedling to grow and get full root space and sunlight! Alternatively, you can do raised beds and bring in soil, which will mean that you don’t have to eliminate weeds because you’re bringing in the ground.

3. Prune your shrubs and any broken branches on your property.
Shrubs need to be routinely pruned if they flower from summer to fall. Many varieties bloom on new wood that has grown, so use this as a guide and cut old wood from previous seasons on shrubs such as the beautyberry, butterfly bush, hydrangea, crape myrtle, St. Johnswort, summersweet, and more. Research online to see what shrubs require pruning and get your pruning scissors and gloves ready– do this after flowering. Be sure also to prune broken, damaged or dead branches– if they fall onto your garden, they could take quite a few of your prized plants with them.

4. Create a compost pile or bin.
If you don’t already have one, consider prepping for your garden this year (and the next) by constructing an area that is hospitable to composting! Whether you are planning on assembling a haphazard pile of compost scraps or want something a little more sophisticated, starting a compost area is a good investment for your garden now and in years to come. Plus, it’s very good for the environment as you have a destination for your organic veggie and fruit scraps and they aren’t wasted in a landfill.

5. Mulch or compost rotted leaves left over from the season.
Don’t pack all those extra leaves you neglected to rake in the autumn into black garbage bags– they can be a huge asset when it comes to your garden! You can use the leaves as mulch or you can add them to your compost, helping enrich the entire process. So this season, grab your rake, some gloves, and put your leaves to work!

6. Get your soil or raised beds ready.
It’s a good idea to get your soil or raised beds ready to go BEFORE you plant the seedlings in them. Give the soil time to develop a natural ecosystem– stirring it up and planting the same day means that a lot of nutrients and bacteria may not be as bio-available to your plants.

7. Plan what you want to plant, then look up the ideal seed-to-soil or transplanting times.
Trying to find the types of plants that grow in certain months can be overwhelming, so try it our way– write down a list of your favorite plants that you want to have in your garden and then look them up individually, noting what time they must be either transplanted or planted as seeds. This will help you plan your seed and seedling shopping as well as know when to plant!

Backyard gardening is easy with just a little planning and effort! When you’ve acquired everything you need and done your prep work, you’re ready for another splendid gardening season. Make sure your plants are well watered and tended to, and you should be due for a bumper home-grown crop this year. Happy gardening!