Spring is just around the corner! Before you get carried away by the sunshine and go buy a bunch of plants, take some time to do a little “spring cleaning” in your garden. A weekend of preparation can go a long way towards setting you up for a year of success! Here are five steps to take this weekend:
1. Organize your tools and supplies
Walking through the aisles at Lowe’s, it is easy to start grabbing beautiful new tools and supplies. Before you buy, though, take some time to sort through and catalogue what you already have at home. If you have gardened in prior years, you probably have more on hand than you realize!
2. Prune perennials
With sharpened tools (be careful!), consult your gardening book (or Google) and give your perennials a good trim. Most plants should be pruned before they bud out, so you’d better get to this step sooner rather than later! Do make sure you look up the type of plant before you prune, though, as needs vary. Click here for one of our favorite Texas gardening books!
3. Clear out dead leaves & branches
This step brings dramatic visible change, so although it might not be fun to do, it will feel rewarding when you’re done! Take a wheelbarrow, big cardboard box, or sturdy trash bag, and go around your yard trimming and/or picking up pruned branches, fallen sticks, dead foliage, spent Pansys, and other casualties of winter. This important task in garden spring cleaning frees up your plants to soak in the spring sunlight and put all of their energy into fresh, new growth!
4. Amend soil
Before you start planting new seeds or spring annuals, make sure your dirt is healthy. A soil test is usually the best option (Tip: check out your local state school’s Ag program to see if they give discounted soil tests), but if you don’t want to spend the time and money that takes, you can purchase some good compost and mix it into your flower beds. If you’ve been making your own compost over the past year, even better!
This step includes both pulling insulating mulch away from pruned plants that were covered to overwinter (for example, we cut our Lantana way back and cover the whole stump with a thick layer of mulch), and adding new mulch. This last step is very important for us here in a hot Texas climate. Mulch settles over time, and you want to make sure you have a good, thick layer covering any exposed dirt before the weather gets hot. The layer of mulch helps the soil stay cool and retain moisture.
These steps are just a general overview garden spring cleaning, and each yard and climate has it’s own unique needs. However, these five steps should give you a good start! Depending on the size of your yard, you might even be able to do all of this in one weekend! We’re sure you won’t regret taking time for careful preparation when you’re enjoying your beautiful, tidy, thriving garden later this Spring.