With springtime upon us, it’s time to dust off those gardening tools and get ready to hit the nursery.
The soil temperature is just about at the perfect spot for planting new bulbs for a gorgeous spring bloom, so starting your planting preparation now will put you in the best position to kick back and enjoy the beauty later.
Top 10 Spring Planting Tips to Beautify Your Garden
To help you get the most out of your garden this year, we’ve compiled the best planting tips from the top home and garden experts in the industry.
Follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to having the best garden in the neighborhood in no time at all.
So order up your bulbs, perennials, trees and shrubs for spring planting and let’s get ready to garden!
1. Assess the Land
The first thing you want to do is take a survey of how kind or harsh winter was to your yard, making note of tree limbs that need to be removed and other maintenance issues.
Check the fence, stairs and other paths for damage caused by the constant freeze and thaw of winter.
Get rid of last year’s perennial foliage and feed it to the compost pile.
Rake your mulch from the flower beds and churn that soil up for proper refreshing aeration.
2. Ready Your Engines
Next, be sure you tune up your mower, tools and other equipment.
Make notes of what’s broken, what needs fixing, what that pesky neighbour never returned and then tend to that list!
Sharpen your mower’s blades, change the oil, replace the spark plugs, lube up moving parts, sending out for service if necessary.
Get the leaf blower serviced as well and sharpen up your sheering tools. Start to clear areas that need reseeding, then mow that lawn!
3. Prune Trees and Shrubs
Get rid of the dead branches from trees and plants as well as any that seem damaged or diseased. Spring is a time for rebirth so start fresh and sever all ties.
Trim down your summer bloomer like hydrangea and roses and prune anything that looks like the cold hit it hard during the winter.
Any trees and shrubs that bloom (especially early in spring), prune them down after they flower.
4. Test your Soil
Go out and buy a home kit for soil testing and take samples from all over your yard.
Remember, it’s not always about where you planted last year, but also where the best place to plant is right now.
Sometimes pH changes and what was barren last year could be great soil for planting this year (especially if you left eggshells there to enrich the soil).
Get your new beds ready with four inches of compost or rotted manure and cultivate it with your spading fork ten to twelve inches down.
5. Get to Planting
Perennials, bare rooted trees and shrubs need to get in the ground early in the season.
Plant your garden on cloudy days that are cooler rather than hotter, sowing cool season flowers into the Earth such as poppies, calendula and sweet peas as well as lettuce, spinach and parsley.
6. Position is Key
Position the bulbs at their exact recommended depth for longevity. As a general rule, the bottom of the bulb should rest at 2.5 times depth compared to the bulb’s diameter.
If the soil is dry or sandy, go one or two inches deeper to keep the rodents from snacking on your garden.
7. Garden in Spades
Your flowers will look better in groups so use a spade, not a bulb planter. Spades make it easy to plant in groups digging wide, curving trenches and placing the bulbs at the bottom.
8. Work in Pairs
You can put different bulb types in the same hole for companion bloomings or even to create successions of bloomings.
A great combination that uses this strategy is putting Dutch hyacinths in a six inch hole, covering them lightly with soil and then placing grape hyacinths at the five inch depth.
Come springtime, the two flowers will bloom together for a gorgeous “skirting” effect as the grape hyacinths soften the huge Dutches.
Then, as autumn rolls around, the leaves of the grape bulbs appear and stick with you all winter, giving you a perfect marker for dormant Dutch bulbs so you don’t accidentally dig them up next season.
9. Fertile grounds
Use fish emulsion, balanced fertilizer (6-6-6 to 8-8-8) and other soil amendments that complement your soil kit results anytime new growth appears.
As soon as you see perennials growing, start fertilizing. Use fertilizers that are high in acid in conjunction with pine needle mulch around your azaleas and camellias to give them the acid rich environment they love so much.
Your gardening success depends largely on your soil’s quality. To ensure your plants thrive, prepare the soil properly.
For example, you can add organic matter in the form of compost, peat moss, or manure to improve the soil quality.
Consider soil drainage too. Waterlogged soil damages causes plant roots to rot away.
10. Compose a Compost
If you don’t already have one, now is the best time to start a compost pile to help you clean up your garden and fertilize it later.
Plant debris and leaves go in first followed by grass clippings, weeds and water in layers. Be sure to use compost bioactivators and make your brown, carbon rich compost material equal to the amount of green, nitrogen rich compound material for a balanced compost for next spring.
This also eliminates dragging heavy bags to the curb and provides you with low-cost sustainability.
Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for freshness and consistency.