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Whether you’re an urban gardener with a tiny space, or you live out in the country with acres and acres to spare, one thing is for certain:
Spring is coming.
As crisp sunny days in the garden are rapidly approaching, we’ve put together a checklist of everything you’ll want to get done before then. In order to have your garden in tip-top shape and ready to grow a bountiful harvest for the coming seasons, print off this handy spring garden checklist so you can cross off tasks as you go!
If you would prefer the more in-depth text-only version, scroll on down to the second half of the page.
Spring Garden Checklist
1. Order Seeds
If you haven’t already ordered your seeds from seed catalogs, do it now! Review your garden plans and get your hands on all of the seeds you intend to plant this year. We personally like Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, West Coast Seeds, and Renee’s Seeds.
Many seed companies will send you a free catalog in the mail, so go sign up for a few and let the fun begin!
2. Start Seeds Indoors
Get a head start on plants with long growing seasons by starting annual seeds indoors. This is especially important for veggies like tomatoes and peppers that require extra time in order to get the most out of their long growing season, and to maximize fruit production.
Just remember, you may need to supplement natural light with some grow lights, as there are fewer hours of sunlight in the early spring and it isn’t as strong as mid-summer sun.
3. Remove Debris
Clean up debris that has accumulated over the winter: sticks, twigs, dead leaves, etc.
4. Sterilize Dirty Pots
Clean and sterilize any dirty pots used last season to reduce the chance of disease spread. To clean clay pots, use steel wool or a wire-bristle brush to remove dirt and mineral deposits. You can then sterilize them by soaking in a solution of one part bleach to 9 parts water for a minimum of 10 minutes. Rinse afterward and allow to dry.
5. Service Garden Tools
Rejuvinate your garden tools. Clean, disinfect, sharpen (in the case of pruning shears) and oil your tools to keep them in tip-top shape.
6. Refresh Your Soil
It is recommended that you replace your potting soil in containers every year or two, and the best time to do that is now if you choose to do so. Alternatively, you can refresh old soil by mixing in compost, new potting mix, and/or granular slow-release fertilizer to improve your soil composition and replenish nutrients for the coming growing season.
8. Plant Cold-Hardy, Cool Season Crops
Plant early spring veggies such as onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, and other cool season crops. To find out when to plant what in your specific location and zone, check out this Planting Dates Calculator over at The Old Farmer’s Almanac.
9. Fertilize Indoor Plants
As the days start getting longer, begin fertilizing indoor plants with a half strength liquid fertilizer to help them get ready for the growing season.
10. Divide Perennials
If you didn’t divide perennials in the fall, now is the time to do so before new growth appears. The reason for this is that dividing can be stressful on the plants, and they’ll recover better in cool, moist conditions. Share some divisions with your friends this year!
11. Plant Trees & Shrubs
Early spring is the ideal time to plant trees and woody shrubs in both containers and in the ground. This is also the best time if you are planning on relocating or repotting one of these plants, before they being to put on new spring growth.
12. Prune Woody Plants & Vines
Prune any bushes or trees that require this in the spring months before new growth begins. This can be done right away for summer and autumn blooming varieties, but hold off on pruning spring-flowering plants until after they’ve finished blooming.
13. Fertilize Shrubs & Flowering Vines
Apply a slow release fertilizer to perennial shrubs, vines, and bushes, such as roses and clematis.
Don’t forget to reapply mulch! Mulching will help to reduce weed growth and help you cut down on your watering time now and in the hot summer months.
15. Harden Off & Plant Seedlings
When the threat of frost has passed, plant your non-cold hardy plants outdoors. Remember to harden off any seedlings you previously started in order to give them the best chance of surviving and flourishing.