Save Time In Spring: 3 Garden Tasks You Can Do Right Now
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Spring is finally here, and I can’t wait to get out in the garden and get may hands in the dirt…but wait, there are the rotting remains of last year’s vines, and the weeds…
Don’t let this happen to you! There are a few things you can do in the fall, after the last harvest, to get a head start on the gardening season in the spring.
- Clear the garden of last year’s plants! It’s cold out and it’s tempting to just leave it until spring, but those vines and stems are not any easier to pull when they’re soggy and black. Pull them now and toss them on the compost pile! If you don’t compost, this is an easy way to start: build or buy a bin, or just pick a spot on the ground. Alternate layers of garden waste with layers of kitchen scraps. Thick layer of vines and dry material, thin layer of vegetable waste. Your garden will thank you in the spring.
- Compost! Spread finished compost on any empty garden space. This is a great way to get a head start on spring nutrition for the garden. Fork it in for best results. If you don’t have time to dig it in, compost can also act as a mulch layer to keep fall and spring weeds down. Compost is a superior choice to boost your garden health. It’s a natural part of the process, after all! Plant material breaks down thanks to microbes in the soil, and eventually becomes part of the soil itself.
- Mulch! Apply a good thick layer of mulch to garden beds or space that’s going to lay dormant until next year. Weeds will grow in any open space, so your best defense it to cover that space instead with leaves, straw, compost, any thick material that will smother weeds and keep your space clear. Mulch comes in many forms, from organic material to sheets of plastic. I prefer the maple/birch leaf variety, because that’s what falls on my lawn and garden. But no matter what material you choose, a layer of mulch will help you get your garden started earlier in the spring.
These are the steps I take in the fall to prepare for the next year’s garden. Try to clear all garden space in the fall; you’ll thank yourself in the spring! Then compost and mulch the earliest available space: spinach, radishes, early lettuce, garlic. Next year you will thank yourself for all that extra work!