Thoughts for Spring
With Spring just around the corner, its a great time to think about those crucial chores and exciting new projects to start in the new growing season. Taking a little time to plan you next endeavor can save you a great deal of time and money. Whether you plant to start a container garden, plant a new tree, start the Spring pruning or just simply sow some new seeds, having a well-prepared garden will get you on your way. As the warmth of the new weather spreads across the land and the blossoms start to bloom, it is important to remember that the nights are often benumbed with a biting chill. Spring is a perfect time to start the annual maintenance and set aside some thoughts for our fuzzy friends and feather fowl still battling the elements. If you are like me and you can’t wait to get your knees muddy and your hands dirty, you have probably started most of your seeds indoors. So what can we do to get those borders and containers ready? Here is my list to get things in order for the Spring;
- Clean and clear.
- Oil and toil.
- Amend and tend.
- Weed and feed.
- Chomp and compost.
- Share and care.
Clean and Clear
The first thing I always do is clear the foliage that nature’s harsh weather has prevented me from tending along with a general clear out of the shed. Pots should be ready for the new plants and rubbish should be moved. It’s also a great time to think about the order of your garden and move what needs to be moved before you start planting everything up. Once the garden has taken shape again it makes it easier to maneuver and create a clear picture of what you want to produce. It’s a good idea to cut back any dead foliage and and remove any plants that didn’t quite make it through the winter.
Oil and Toil
Before you can get any real work done it is essential to check all your tools and decide if you need any new ones. There is nothing worse than getting half way through a job to find that you saw is blunt or rust has eaten your shears and you have to go out and buy something again. I like to oil my tools with a small spray of coconut oil as it won’t leave any residuals that will harm the environment.
Amend and Tend
Spring is a perfect time to amend depleted soil and tend to the borders. I like to turn a simple mix of compost and coconut coir in equal parts with one quarter part manure. I then add a small amount of ground eggshells and sand to help with the drainage. This provides a great starter soil for the Spring and will last until the Summer when new fertilizer can be added. Turning the soil will loosen it and allow for new activity under the surface from beneficial bacteria to worms. The addition of new organic materials will kick start the cycles and get your garden well on the way to those exciting edibles and flourishes of flowers.
Weed and Feed
A great way to wipe out weeds without using chemicals is to make a simple solution of salt and vinegar. This can be sprayed directly on the weeds and around the roots. It will not contaminate your borders and it can be washed away easily after the job is done. I like to pull up the bigger weeds and use a brush to sweep the top soil to the side after I have planted something new. This moves all the small seeds and slows down the growth of unwanted invaders. Adding a mulch like fallen leaves, partly broken down leaf mould, wood chips or coconut chunks will help to lock in moisture and create slow release nutrients for the soil. These simple methods can help to feed your plants and cut down on maintenance.
Chomp and Compost
With all these new things going in, its a great time to think about making new compost and chopping back the bushes. Most of the foliage that comes from the garden can be composted. Hedge trimmings, grass cuttings, leaves and twigs can all go in and a simple run over the mix with the lawn mower will help you to speed up the process of decomposition. This can then be used later to amend the soil or make a great mulch for the borders. Most of what is cut down or pulled up makes it back into my garden one way or another. I find this very satisfying and I know exactly what has gone into the the soil.
Care and Share
For me, this simply means thinking about our little friends that have been battling the elements. Birds and bees frequently visit our gardens and they have been battling the winter months. It’s far from over for them as they fight the cold snaps of the night and strive to feed their young. Leaving a little food and water around the garden will help them greatly. Birds love bananas and they can be easily hung around the garden out of reach of other unwanted guests. Water is also essential for animals and insects. I usually leave it in multiple places which I can easily tend to on a weekly basis. Bird boxes and insect hotels are also a great idea. Leaving a little honey will help the bees that work relentlessly to pollinate our favorite fruits and flowers.
Join the Conversation
What are your Spring rituals? What is going on in your garden? Share your stories and tips in the comments section below. We would love to hear from you.