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How to Prepare for Spring Gardening

When Should You Begin a Spring Garden?

Spring gardens contain mid-seasonal vegetables, budding flowers, and moderately temperate plants. Spring gardens are the most versatile, as your chosen crops are usually tolerant of mild to moderately colder or warmer temperatures. To prepare for spring gardening, begin sowing seeds eight to twelve weeks before the final anticipated frost and ensure you complete a few preparatory tasks we’ll outline in this article.

How to Plant a Garden

When gardening spring plants, you must first have an overall action plan. When considering how to plant a garden, remember that growing a successful spring garden requires preparation throughout the previous winter season. Since the last spring, snow has packed the soil down, and weeds have started to re-grow. Before you can even plant any new crops, ensure you start by thoroughly cleaning your garden and tools.

Clean Your Tools

Before working on your soil, ensure all your gardening spring tools are cleaned and possibly sterilized further. Throughout the winter months – if you have not continued your garden’s upkeep – your tools may have developed rust, jagged edges, or contain traces of disease or insects, which may affect your new garden. Any remaining debris or dirt can easily contain fungal spores and bacteria.To prevent the potential spread of diseases to your garden, disinfect your tools with a solution of 10% bleach and 90% water. Leave the tools soaking for half an hour or more to eliminate any lingering pathogens. 

Prepare the Soil

Before planting your seeds, check if the soil needs prepping or maintenance. While you might be ready to start the gardening spring process, the ground may be too frozen or compacted from winter. In this case, you will need to wait until it thaws to begin digging. To test the soil’s readiness, try this well-known method. Take a handful of dirt and squeeze it into a ball. If you can easily mold the dirt, it contains too much moisture. Continue to wait until the soil appears crumbly, retains minimal water, and shows no signs of frost. Does your soil continually have too much water? Consider investing in professional drainage systems for the healthiest spring gardens. 

Add Mulch and Compost

Add compost and other organic material – like bone meal – to the flower beds as the soil starts to warm up. Soil has several layers, with each layer containing different types of microorganisms. Avoid tilling the soil too early and limit how much of those layers you disturb. Instead, adding layers of compost or mulch allows you to fertilize the soil without disturbing the underlying organisms and nutrients. 

Order Summer Seeds

While experiencing the end of the winter season, order your summer flowering bulbs and seeds. For early gardening spring plants, order your plants ahead of time so you can enjoy them throughout spring. We suggest ordering flowering bulbs like lilies, ranunculi, and gladioli for a colorful garden.

Sow Seeds With Longer Seasons

During January and February, start sowing seeds that require longer growing seasons. Common types of seeds planted during these months include geraniums, antirrhinums, peppers, begonias, and aubergines. Before you can plant these seeds, you must place them in a heated incubator for an extended time. Prepare your garden early by taking these extra steps. 

Maintain Fences, Trellises, and Gates

Learning how to plant a garden is frustrating enough for novice gardeners. Consider limiting your stress and finishing those maintenance jobs in the winter. Chicago’s extreme winter temperatures can cause varying levels of damage. Check your gates, fences, trellis, and any other structures for damaged areas. If you find replacing these items tricky, connect with professionals who specialize in constructing outdoor spaces, including fencing, patios, and pavement.

How to Start a Flower Bed for Beginners

Learning how to start a flower bed can seem daunting the first time. Starting a flower bed involves more than just choosing and planting seeds once per year. Instead, it consists of a year-long process, with preparation beginning the season before the next. Once you complete all your prep work in the winter – prepping the soil, ordering the bulbs, and cleaning your tools – you can learn how to start a flower bed, including designing and more. 

Preparing Flower Beds

Consider these three key items when starting your bed: location, sunlight, and soil. These items are vital to encouraging a thriving and healthy flower bed. As you garden, ask yourself the following questions: 

  • Where will I position the bed?
  • How much sunlight will it receive?
  • Is the soil appropriate for my flower bed?

Design for Your Bed

After you’ve chosen your garden’s location, get creative when designing your flower bed. Depending on the space available, you can add different features to enhance your garden. Do you enjoy walking through your garden at night and require lighting? Consider adding soft landscape lighting to create focal points in your garden. Or, rather, do you enjoy gardening spring beds but dislike kneeling in the soil? We suggest adding a container garden to your brick paver patio

Building the Flower Bed

Unless you have a bare patch of soil, plan on removing any turn before planning your flowers. We often jump over this step when navigating how to plant a flower bed. However, prepping the soil and bed design remains one of the most critical steps during the prep process. Follow these steps to build several sturdy flower beds:

  • Dig up existing turf and weeds with shovels and hoes, and plant your garden in the center of the patch. 
  • Make a flower bed without digging. Cover the soil with newspaper, layer it with several inches of compost or rich soil, then plant your seeds a year after the newspaper has decomposed. 
  • Build a raised flower bed. Use wood boards or raised flower bed kits to create small gardening sections.

Plant Types

Now that you have designed your bed, removed the grass, and prepped your soil, it is time to plant your spring crops. Choose flowers that adjust well to your climate and the amount of sunlight available in your garden. These are a few suggested plant ideas for different gardening spring bed locations: 

  • Consider taller flowers like cosmos, sunflowers, or hollyhocks for your front porch or stretching along the property fence.
  • For front-border plants, use low-growing annuals like impatiens and sweet alyssum. 
  • To add a pop of color to your garden, add zinnias, marigolds, or snapdragons.

Growing Your Garden With Arbeen Landscaping

Are you interested in starting a spring garden but don’t quite know how to prepare for spring gardening, including how to plant a garden or flower bed? Why not reach out to a company with expertise in outdoor and garden-specific landscaping? Developed from years of expertise, Arbeen Landscaping knows the best soil, flowers, and landscaping practices for your Chicago garden. Contact us today to discuss your property’s best gardening spring landscape designs.

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