Spring Gardens

Tips for Spring Gardening

VEGETABLES & FLOWERS



Plant early vegetables now
Your soil will be ready for planting when it crumbles easily and you will be able to work it with a spade. Dig down a bit to make sure there are no ice crystals and that it is easy to dig. If it is too wet and compacted add some fresh compost or triple mix. Move the soil around and let it sit and air out.
Once your soil is ready you can plant early crops such as spinach, lettuces, peas and leeks. You can plant these crops every two or three weeks to extend your harvest.
You can start cabbage, potatoes, broccoli and radishes inside 4 – 6 weeks before the last frost or direct seed at the end of spring.
It is always a good idea to use a row cover to protect cabbage from insects.

Protect Plants and seedlings from Frost
When you plant early you have to watch for frost. If it calls for frost overnight and you don’t have a greenhouse or cold frames, cover the plants or seeds with a cloche, tarps with rocks to hold it down, plastic bottles, buckets, whatever will protect them from getting ‘frost bite’.
If you don’t have cold frames set up or a small greenhouse, you should consider this for future years. It can extend your gardening season by a few weeks.

Clean Out Your garden beds
Existing perennial beds can be cleared of old plant debris and mulched to prevent weed growth. Mulch should be applied around, but not over the plant.
For your garden beds that had annuals last year turn over any debri and work it into the soil. Then add a thick layer of mulch, consisting of organic matter, compost, prepared manure, peat moss, triple mix. The thicker the mulch the better for your plants.

Perennials
Prepare new beds for perennial flowers by spreading a 6-inch deep layer of mulch and work in deeply.
Stakes can also be put in the ground for any perennial plants that grow tall and need support. Be careful not to disturb emerging shoots with the stakes.

Plant out bulbs now
Early spring is the time to set out bulbs. Not all bulbs bloom in the year that you plant them. Some may bloom next spring, others may take two or three years . Check the instructions given with each bulb.

Be one step ahead of Pests
As soon as the frost is gone, the cabbage moth may appear. It will lay its eggs against the lower stems of brassica family seedlings – which are cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprout, kale, cauliflower. Once the eggs hatch, the seedlings often die.
To protect these crops from root maggots and other pests, such as slugs, plant with row covers.
There are many pests that attack our plants. If you are familiar with companion gardening it is a good idea to try to put ‘buddy plants’ together. If you want to see more on companion gardening check out here.