Garden Ideas and Tips For Late Winter and Early Spring
Will winter ever end? Those are the words that are heard often as January turns to February, and thoughts of warm spring weather seem silly at best.
Yes, snow still covers the ground in many regions of the country, but that does not mean that we can’t begin to do some work in the garden. In fact, late winter is the perfect time to prepare for the months to come. Some gardening jobs, in fact, must be done now while shrubs and trees are still dormant.
So go get those gardening tools from your shed; change into your old gardening clothes; and follow me out into the garden and let’s see what we can do to get ready for spring.
DRAW PLANS FOR YOUR GARDEN
Perhaps you have an established garden already. If so, then make a sketch of your garden and plan what you will plant and where you will plant it. You can use a rough sketch like the one we use to the right, or you can get fancy and generate one from your computer. Either way, sketching a garden plan will help you in deciding what seeds you need to plant and where you should plant them.
Remember to allow for where the sunny areas are and where the shady areas are, as this will greatly affect your decisions of what to plant and where to plant.
Inexpensive ideas for gardening
- Frugal Living Gardening Tips
Why spend money on gardening when everything you need you already have? There are many ways to have a fruitful garden and not spend loads of cash.
MAKE RAISED BEDS NOW
This is the perfect time of year to build your raised flower and vegetable beds now. All you need is four pieces of lumber and some screws to make one raised bed. I prefer using 2x8’s as this gives me eight inches of prepared soil in which to plant my seeds. You can, of course, use treated wood for a longer life, but I have found untreated wood will give me from five to ten years of use, and I’m all about saving money. Finding scrap lumber for free is relatively easy, so I rarely if ever use expensive treated wood.
Anyway, now is the time to make those raised beds. While you are playing with your tools, you might want to inventory your tools and supplies. If you are lacking anything for the spring and summer months, head out and buy what you need now. There is nothing worse for a gardener than a beautiful spring day and not having the tools necessary to do those spring jobs.
IT’S PRUNING TIME
Quick, before the buds appear, now is the perfect time to prune your fruit trees and your shrubs. You can also safely transplant both at this time of year.
Remember also that this is a great time of year to fertilize your shrubs and trees.
Be careful with flowering shrubs as they formed their buds in the late fall; pruning will result in losing flowers this spring, so prune wisely.
Begin all pruning by removing dead and broken branches. Prune for shape, opening up the center of the plant for good air circulation and sun exposure.
COLD FRAMES AND GREENHOUSES
This is the time to get those cold frames and greenhouses built and set up in the garden, unless of course you live in the northern regions where snow is three feet deep and refusing to leave.
Remember that you don’t have to get fancy with this stage. Using fiberglass tent poles or pvc pipe and some plastic will take care of your greenhouse or cold frame needs. Why pay more when you can take care of business on the cheap?
EARLY PLANTING OF BULBS, FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
Now is the time to plant strawberries once they become available, as well as fruit trees. Daylillies, Bleeding Hearts, and Hostas can be planted in February, as can Rhubarb, Horseradish, Asparagus and Artichokes.
If you have a cold frame or greenhouse, get an early start on many seeds. Peas, beans, and radishes should do well if protected from frost.
WEED NOW BEFORE THEY START SEEDING
The weeds are still dormant so do your weeding now before they warm up and start seeding. You can save yourself a lot of weeding headaches by digging those weeds up now.
If you did your garden planning then you know what you need. Seeds are on sale now so go out and buy what you will need. Read the directions for the climate area that you live in so you know when to plant according to last frost data. You might as well make your signs so you will know what you planted and where. Of course, that information is on your garden diagram, but it’s always nice to have little signs in your garden to tell you at a glance what is planted in a particular area.
MIX COMPOST INTO SOIL
Turn over the soil now. If you have a tiller, now is the time to crank that baby up and dig up the garden soil. If you have a compost bin, it’s time to mix that compost into the soil and get those nutrients doing their job for the spring and summer months.
REMEMBER OUR FEATHERED FRIENDS
Birds will provide endless hours of enjoyment, but you have to be welcoming. Make sure that they have a bird bath available for a source of water, and get those bird feeders up and filled. The robins are back in our area and they look hungry; the finches always seem to be hungry. Who knows what else you will see if you provide a nice buffet for them.
SO MUCH MORE
I never get tired of my garden, and once I get started on the chores then I can’t seem to quit. Such is the enjoyment of growing your own food. Endless hours of enjoyment await you, but you have to pay your dues in the late winter/early spring. Do the early work now and you will be treated to a bounty of food and flowers that will feed your body and soul.
2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)