Gah – I’m pretty excited that it’s officially the time of year where we can start to say, “Spring is in the air”! It feels like our part of the world is re-emerging from the winter and everything is coming back to life. This is also the time of year where I start to feel reallyyy ready to get my hands a little dirty again and start digging up some dirt. Listed below are some things I like to do in early spring to set up for much success with the main food growing seasons. I should mention that I’m writing this post in the middle of March based on the weather we are experiencing here in the PNW, however the time frame will differ for everyone depending on where you live. For my East coast friends, early spring gardening might be more realistic in mid April/ early May – but this varies every year!
Things you can do in EARLY SPRING for your garden:
- PLAN: start thinking about what you want to grow this year. Make a list of your favourite vegetables and do some research on how to grow them. Some of my top recommendations to start with, based on ease of growing (especially early on in the season) include; kale, arugula, spinach, various types of lettuce, cabbage, Boy Choy, and peas.
- WAKE the BEDS: if you have an existing garden, this is when you can slowly start to awaken your beds. Maybe by weeding, removing over grown grasses, mixing in some compost and/ or manure, and generally just giving your beds some love and attention.
- EXPAND: this is my favourite part! I am a bit of an expansion addict as the prospect of adding new garden space to grow more food is pretty exciting to me. For spring expansion, I recommend either; a) digging up sod and shaking it out to ensure you keep as much top soil as possible b) building raised beds or bringing in pallets. You will have to add top soil to these (see the next step). NOTE: I think a good method to go by is trying to expand your garden a little bit each year. This way you don’t ever feel too overwhelmed but continue to get maximal growth benefits as time goes on!
- CULTIVATE GOOD SOIL: soil is super important when it comes to successful gardening. There are so many ways you can cultivate new soil for your gardens. You can: a) Dig up existing earth if you have the property to do so (especially if you know the soil is dark and nutrient rich). I like to use a shovel or mattock to do so b) buy soil (triple mix) from a garden centre c) Add in compost (either your own or buy it from a garden centre) and/or animal manure to existing soil (this is especially great if you have a local source you can get it from). This past year we were able to get horse manure which we are pretty excited to add to the beds.
- PLANT: When you think you are in the clear and won’t be getting any more snow or intense frosts, you can start to plant your “cold weather crop” seeds. You can also think about doing your own indoor seed starters in small containers – I like to use egg cartons or old disposable plant pots (as pictured below). Just be sure to keep these by a window in direct sunlight as best you can and don’t forget to water daily.
If you can do some or all of these steps you will be officially ready to have an epic garden that grows tons of delicious food for the coming months!