Read time: 6 Minutes…
Everything You Should do Before Planting Your Beds This Spring
Our absolute favourite time in the garden is early spring. What inspires a gardener more than the excitement and anticipation of looking at a freshly prepared planting bed?
The green thumb’s blank canvas!
Getting your beds ready requires elbow grease – but once they’re prepared , that’s the tricky bit done. Plus, the more time you spend on prep, the less work you’ll have to do later.
For a Bountiful Garden This Year, Here Are 7 Things You Should do Now:
- Turnover your beds
- Inspect beds for repairs
- Pull and block weeds
- Inspect soil level
- Set stakes
- Cover the soil
- Plant in warm weather
Till Your Garden Beds
Job number one is to till your garden beds.
Turning the soil over to break up and aerate compacted dirt is essential so that air, water, and nutrients can reach your future crop.
Turn Under Green Manures
Cover crops, also known as ‘green manure‘, are frequently sown between crop rotations or during winter to increase soil organic matter and supply a nitrogen-rich fertiliser.
Theses cover crops ought to be ploughed under a few weeks before replanting and before they can seed.
There are wide varieties of green manures and many ways to remove them, but the most straightforward is to cut them down close to the ground and turn them into the soil with a tiller.
Inspect Your Raised Beds for Repairs
During the winter, soil in raised beds becomes heavy and wet and exerts pressure on the edges.
Check edges and corners thoroughly and make necessary repairs while you’re working on the soil to avoid disturbing plants later.
For Gaps in Corners
When fastening corners back together, dig a few inches of soil out, rejoint the edges and use coated deck screws to fasten them back into place.
For Bowed Edges
If the soil is pushing on the edges of your beds out, you’ve got two options:
- Set stakes on the inside of the bed and screw the bowed edge into the stake to hold it in place.
- Dig back the soil, drill two holes at opposing ends of some 1/2″ almuminium flat stock to create a bar and attach opposing edges of the raised beds by screwing this bar into the lower boards.
Pull and Block Weeds
You can do this before or after you turn the soil over.
The simplest method is to turn them over with the soil and remove the wilted and exposed weeds a few weeks later.
In the case of any weeds or tree roots encroaching on your beds from outside of the planting area, dig a narrow trench around the bed and lay some HDPE plastic to create a root barrier. Some gardeners will line the bottom of their beds, but this can limit drainage and root growth.
Inspect Soil Level
The soil in raised beds will settle over time, and the soil level may become a few inches lower during springtime.
If your soil isn’t light and breakable, add peat to compacted beds to help improve its condition.
Once your soil is in place, till in compost in order to add nutrients.
Drive in Stakes, Poles and Trellises
For growing tomatoes, beans or other plants that need support, don’t wait until after planting to avoid disturbing roots.
If you’re feeling crafty, you may also want to build a simple shelter with plastic sheeting or corrugated panels to shelter plants, specifically tomatoes from blight.
Cover your Soil
Covering your soil in early spring will help retain warmth and speed up the breakdown of organic matter added to the ground.
It will also ensure that valuable nutrients aren’t washed away by rainfall while preventing weeds from growing before planting.
Wait for Warm Weather
Now, we wait.
Bed prep is hard work, but waiting to plant may be more chalenging!
Avoid getting stuck into planting at the first hint of a warm spell: Working the soil when wet will mean losing natural air pockets, and seeds may suffocate and start to rot. It also essential to avoid the last of the frost.
According to Met Office, a typical April will see a dozen days o f grass frost and, on average, four days when the temperature drops below 0. You’ll want the soil to be at least 15°C before sowing, with 20°-30° being ideal for germination.
Grab a handful of soil; if it looks more like chocolate cake than a cold mudpie, you may be ready for planting.
You’re ready to cultivate a luscious garden this growing season!
Do you want emission-free, cordless, and enjoyable tools to improve your gardening experience and help you with your spring garden bed prep?
We can help with everything from drills for bed repair to battery-powered tillers for cultivating a luscious, healthy garden this Spring.