As the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, getting outside and enjoying fresh air is a great way to de-stress and promote good health.
Gardening is an easy way to spend time outside while getting physical exercise and taking advantage of the variety of health benefits gardening offers. For instance, gardening promotes relaxation, it is an easy hobby to pursue, it helps you stay sharp, and it improves your mood.
Here are some tips to help you prepare your flower beds for the spring season!
Tip #1: Clean Your Garden Tools
Start your spring cleaning early! If you haven’t gardened since winter, you may want to use this time to clean your garden tools. This season comes fast, so when it’s time to plant and cultivate your spring flowers, you’ll want your tools to be ready.
If any tools are rusted, remove rust by soaking the tool in a one-to-one mixture of vinegar and water. This helps loosen up rust, which you can then scrub off with a tough sponge or steel wool brush! You can also take this time to sharpen shovels, trowels, hoes, and other tools you’ll need for your gardening.
You can also take this time to sort through your tools and see which tools you need for this year’s planting. If you haven’t used one of your tools in a few seasons, try selling it online or donating it to a local gardening center.
If you’re a beginner, or if you just want to refresh your tool supply, here are some tools to have this spring:
- Hoe with a sharp blade
- Hand pruners or gardening scissors
- Garden spade
- Lawn rake
- Steel rake
- Organic mulch
Tip #2: Remove Weeds
If there are any weeds, debris, old twigs, branches, or dead plants in your garden, now is a great time to sort through them! It’s important to wait until the soil is dry to pull any weeds. This helps the soil stay aerated and healthy. If you pull weeds when it’s too wet, you could damage the soil structure.
Don’t know if your soil is ready to be weeded? We’ve got some guidelines:
- Scoop up a handful of soil and cup it in your hands
- Squeeze your hands together so the soil forms into a ball
- If the soil sticks together and keeps its shape when you let go, it’s still too wet. If the soil crumbles apart and loses its shape when you let you, you’re good to start removing weeds
While you’re pulling weeds and debris from your flower beds, try to save as much soil as possible! Shake off the roots of the plants so they return to your garden. This soil already has the nutrients and minerals your soil needs, so reusing this soil in your garden helps it stay healthy!
Tip #3: Sort Through Your Flowers
It’s important to sort through your flowers when preparing your flower beds for spring. Here are some ways to do this:
1. Prune your flower beds.
Pruning your shrubs is a great way to prepare your flower beds for spring. When pruning, timing is everything. The best time to prune is either in winter or spring.
The pruning timeline is different for each plant, but aim to prune spring flowers such as lilac, forsythia, and rhododendrons immediately after they bloom.
To prune your flower beds, look for flowers that haven’t bloomed this season, have outgrown their location, or look flopped over and tired. It’s likely that these flowers are tired and need to be cut out so new flowers can grow and bloom!
This is where gardening scissors come in handy. When cutting out old flowers, aim to cut individual stems below the damage and just above the first healthy leaf. If a plant has more than one stem, you can cut them closer to the ground.
2. Aerate the soil.
After you’ve pruned your flower beds, consider aerating the soil. This is the process of putting small holes into the soil so air, water, and nutrients can access the roots of the plant and help them grow deeper and stronger.
Sometimes soil can become too compact, which can make it harder for plants to grow. Aerating soil helps alleviate soil compaction. To aerate your soil, use an auger bit to drill a hole in the soil. Aerating the soil also helps move the composted soil lower into the roots, which promotes growth as well.
Now it’s time to talk about the benefits of composting!
Tip #4: Start Composting
Compost is a wonderful, environmentally friendly fertilizer that can help your garden grow. It will also save you money and a trip to your local gardening store to buy fertilizer when spring comes along.
The National Resources Defense Council explains that composting is a form of recycling for nature. In other words, composting is recycling organic matter like food scraps or old plants. These break down and can be used as fertilizer to help plants and soil stay healthy.
Besides benefitting your garden, composting also benefits the environment! It helps reduce waste, minimizes methane emissions from landfills, and conserves water!
Here are some guidelines to help you start a compost system if you don’t already have one:
For a smaller garden, you may only need a compost bin. If you have a larger garden, you may want to consider a larger composting system
Choose hot composting or cold composting. Cold composting is more passive, as you pretty much sit back and let nature take its course. Hot composting is an active process that yields faster results. This involves paying attention to your carbon to nitrogen ratio and managing it closely
Make sure your composting system has a sufficient supply of water, oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen. All organic matter has carbon, and adding water and oxygen is easy to manage. Nitrogen can be found in most green vegetables, grass, some food scraps, and even coffee grounds. Carbon is brown, so look for tree branches, brown leaves, twigs, and paper. To maintain a healthy carbon to nitrogen ratio for your compost system, aim to put in one nitrogen compound for every four carbon materials you put in!
- Aerate your compost pile! Just like aerating your soil can help it stay healthy, aerating your compost pile will help it stay healthy too. In the summer, simply turn your pile once a week. You can do this by rotating your compost bin, or manually flipping over your pile. In the winter, it will be colder, so you’ll only need to do this every month
Aim to add compost to your garden at the very beginning of each growing season. This helps improve the soil, keeps needed nutrients and minerals from the previous crop in the soil, and creates a healthy microbiome.
Simply lay down your compost so it forms one to two inches of soil on top of your flower bed. You will then want to turn the compose so it sits six inches under the soil before you plant!
Adding a compost system will not only benefit your garden, but it also helps the planet!
Tip #5: Look for Pests
Pests can quickly overtake your garden if you aren’t on the lookout. Inspect your plants before each growing season (and throughout the seasons too) to see if any pests have been eating your plants. You’ll see holes in the leaves, eaten edges, discoloration or spots, and even damaged stems or flower buds.
If pests have been munching on your flowers, don’t worry! Look for a garden center and take a sample of the plant to be inspected by a professional. They will tell you exactly what to do and identify what kind of pest has taken a liking to your plants.
How To Prep Yourself for Spring Gardening
With this guide, prepping your flower beds will come easily, so we want to make sure you’re prepared for spring, too! Here are some tips to help you garden worry-free.
1. If you live with bladder leaks
Some types of bladder leaks can be caused by movements that put stress on your bladder, like crouching down to tend to your garden. Other types of leaks are more sporadic, and you never know when you’ll need to be close to your bathroom. Luckily, there are products to help you manage leaks and make gardening a breeze.
2. If you live with joint pain
Living with joint pain presents an entirely different challenge when gardening, as bending over and walking for long periods of time may irritate your joints. However, this is very treatable! The benefits of hemp and CBD have been relied upon to soothe joint pain and ease soreness in muscles and bones for years.
If you’re new to hemp and CBD, try using a simple hemp relief salve to rub right onto the places that hurt. If you would prefer an ingestible pain reliever, try hemp extract gummies or a tincture to target discomfort from the inside out.
Gardening is a fun hobby and can help keep your mind sharp and your body moving. On top of this, it’s a wonderful way to help keep your body healthy and the planet healthy, especially if you start composting. Plus, you’ll be able to enjoy watching your flowers bloom!
As spring rolls around, use these preparation tips to help you get outside and enjoy the fresh air.