Green-fingered Brits are being urged to use the first few days of spring as the perfect opportunity to begin waking up their garden and embark on a new growing adventure.
The horticulture experts at BillyOh.com have compiled a list of tips and tricks to help ambitious gardeners prepare their backyards in time for spring.
From cleaning up your garden tools and tracking down pesky pests to pruning shrubs and trees and making a detailed plan for planting, there are a number of general yard tasks that must be undertaken before plant enthusiasts are able to jump into placing new flowers and shrubs.
These are the jobs you should be undertaking now to make sure your garden is prepped, organised and equipped so you can enjoy a successful, blooming garden this spring and summer.
A spokesperson for BillyOh.com commented: “If you’re a gardening novice or if you’re simply just itching to get started on your garden this year, you might think that you can just leave it ‘til the last minute before rushing in to get everything done whilst in the throes of spring.
“But Rome wasn’t built in a day, and there are certain preparations you should be making now in order to really get the most out of your garden during blooming season.
“As well as detailing some of the key jobs you should be starting as spring rolls around, we’ve also included a list of plants you should consider planting this year to create the ultimate garden haven.”
Wash and polish your garden tools.
Your tools will likely need some TLC after months of non-use and hiding in the garden shed or basement. Shears and hand pruners may have accumulated dirt that, if left unwashed, could infect your newly-pruned plants. Almost all tools are easier to work with when cleaned and sharpened so take the time to hone those spades, trowels and hoes with a file and apply lubricating oil.
Track down garden pests.
Slugs, snails, aphids and larvae may have been sheltering in the crowns or flip sides of your plants for the winter. Go after these hibernating pests before putting in new plants. There’s a slew of pest control materials and methods to choose from but it’s best to start with more natural means like homemade remedies or beneficial insects that will prey on the harmful ones.
Clean up your yard or garden
Spend some time doing some general cleaning and tidying jobs by removing leaves and debris from your lawn, taking note of areas that need reseeding. If you have perennials from last year, cut down foliage and reserve it for your compost bin. Divide clumped perennials for later replanting or sharing with friends. You can also start fixing fences, gates and trellis so you’ll have more time focusing on your plants after tidying up.
Prepare the beds and reinvigorate the soil.
It’s a lot easier to pull out weeds now so go through it and rake the mulch that remained on the bed over the winter. But how will you know if your soil is ready for gardening since winter weather takes a hard toll on garden soil?
An easy guide is to grab a handful of soil, squeeze it tightly, then open your fist. The soil should crumble instead of forming clumps. Take a soil test for pH level if necessary and enrich accordingly: add dolomitic lime to raise pH or sulphur to lower pH. Add in some compost or well-rotted manure too, using a spading fork to mix in everything perfectly well.
Prune shrubs and trees.
If you haven’t got around to pruning your trees before or during winter, now is the best time to do so. Remove damaged, dead and diseased branches, but take note whether a certain plant is best pruned before spring growth or right after flowering. Pruning fruit trees is best done in late winter or early spring. Also take time to thin dead foliage now before new growth begins and thinning becomes too difficult.
Prepare for planting
Here are some of the plants to consider growing in your garden this season:
Tulip, Crocus, Daffodils, Hyacinths, Dahlia, Lily, Amaryllis
Spring-planted bulbs make some of the most colourful garden flowers. Make sure not to cut off their leaves when they have finished flowering.
Rhododendron, Camellia, Viburnum, Forsythia, Lilac, Azalea
Some of these bushes provide a bigger visual impact than flowers and produce blooms that are fragrant, too.
Snowy Mespilus, Hawthorn, Crab Apple, Pyrus, Flowering Dogwood, Cherry Tree
Deciduous as they may be, these trees give a year-round delight starting of course with dream-like blooms during spring.
Lettuce, Cabbage, Kale, Broccoli, Turnips, Radish, Cucumber, Onions
Garden vegetables are usually planted when the soil is warm, but March can be a great time to plant cool-season vegetables that can withstand the last frosty days of the month.
You may opt to plant these vegetables directly in the soil, underneath a row cover, or in containers. For a continual harvest, plant several varieties of each.
Chives, Lavender, Rosemary, Thyme, Parsley, Basil, Mint
Compliment your springtime recipes with the unmistakable flavours and fragrance of fresh, home-grown herbs this season. Dedicate a row for herbs in your garden or grow them on your kitchen windowsill for easy reach.
Avocados, Blueberries, Lemons, Pineapple, Apricot, Strawberries, Kiwi
Growing fruits in the UK can be difficult but not impossible, and it will definitely give your garden an edge.