3 Tips To Start Your Own Spring Garden
Nothing beats a morning walk in a spring garden or the rush of enthusiasm one gets from a new growing season. I hope you are filled with endless energy and a *nothing can stop me attitude* to tackle the spring gardening season with vigor.
For those of you who may be newer to gardening, I’d want to share 3 tips for helping you get your own spring gardens off to a great start!
Before the garden can produce big, beautiful flowers or vibrant vegetables, there is always the hard work of hauling, lifting, pulling, shoveling, weeding, and watering.
Think of it this way; your soil has been sleeping, and April is the time when it comes to life again. I till with a shovel and pickaxe. I make a trench and then fill it in with shovelfuls of soil from the next area. This process is called double digging. What you want to think about is this; how does the soil feel and look?
Take a clump of soil in your hand and squeeze it tight.
Does it fall apart and crumble? Is it gritty? Or, does it hold together once your hand is open? Does it smell earthy and fresh or is it odorless?
Now think about the roots of the plants, will they be able to spread with ease? Are there small rocks in their way? Your soil should be soft to the touch, not sandy or crumbly. Have you tried double digging yet? It’s hard work, but it pays off in beautiful, healthy flowers!
When we moved into this farmhouse fifteen years ago, and I started this garden, it never occurred to me that the county was named Rockland County for a reason. This soil was such a challenge to work. Every time I tried to shovel into the ground I hit rock bottom. I remember removing boulders in the heat of the day. Determined, I forged ahead. Armed with picks and shovels, I set out to transplant each and every stone, rock, and boulder in my way.
Now, the shovel digs deep into most of the beds without any difficulty. This huge rock (above) is one I removed today so I could plant a new area. The garden work never stops.
Once the stones are removed, then it’s time to add compost. By adding it, you are creating rich humus in the garden beds. Humus adds nutrients to plants and helps retain moisture in the soil.
If you have the room and time, I recommend making your own humus. I make my own by adding kitchen and yard waste into these bins. Plus Henny loves to help too, by adding her poo.
Any compost you add to your soil is a natural alternative to chemical fertilizers. If your soil is poor like mine, the answer is compost.
I look for free mulch, and each year it varies. Last year I was given some straw, and that’s what I put down. But I’ve also used newspaper, cardboard, seaweed, leaves, bark husks or hay. Mulch helps keep the weeds under control. I’m not saying you won’t have weeds, but they come out much easier if you’ve mulched and after you’ve watered. It also keeps the soil cool and moist during drought and in the winter it prevents erosion.
So, there you have it. My 3 top tips with respect to your must do chores to help you have a beautiful spring garden. All my plants are grown organically. I don’t use any chemicals in my cottage garden and by keeping the soil clean, fresh, chemical free, alive and happy, my plants multiply for me! If you follow these 3 simple tips, your garden will do the same for you, too.
Trust me. Gardening takes long hours and much effort, but if you love it as much as I do, your garden will always bring you JOY!
If you have any questions, I invite you to contact me directly. I’d love to hear how I may continue to help you grow your own slow flowers.