Planting your spring garden • SpiritView

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The Joy of Gardening in Spring

Imagine kneeling in the mud, pruning your plants, pulling out weeds, and sowing new seeds while the soft spring sunlight warms your back. Delightful, isn’t it?

When you start gardening in spring, you’ll realize that your plant babies, however small, are your nearest touchpoint with nature.

Caring for them will not only make your garden look stunning, but also bring health and happiness to you.

Your spring garden, not only is a great butterfly garden but has the power to draw you in, just as it draws in birds and bees. It’s a perfect place to unwind and observe nature in all its glory.

Video

A step-by-step guide to planting

Planting garlic is easy! It’s also a low maintenance crop that is bothered by few pests and diseases. Even the deer that roam my property rarely bother my garlic beds. Here’s how to plant garlic in the spring:

1 – Find the ideal site for growing garlic. This is especially important for spring-planted garlic because you want the plants to grow as quickly as possible once the weather warms. Garlic grows best in a garden that receives at least eight hours of sun each day. I’ve found growing my garlic crop in raised beds has resulted in healthier plants and larger bulbs.

2 – Prep the soil. Garlic prefers a soil rich in nitrogen. I dig in aged manure or compost before planting as well as an organic granular fertilizer. If you know you’re going to be planting garlic in the spring, for bulbs or green garlic, prep the site in fall if possible. That will save you time when you get a weather window to plant. 

3 – Plant the cloves. Plant the cloves two to three inches deep and six inches apart. I plant in a grid formation in my raised beds to maximize growing space.

4 – Mulch the bed. Once the cloves have been planted, top the bed with two to three inches of shredded leaves or straw. 

5 – Water deeply. Give the garlic bed a deep watering to ensure the newly planted cloves have all the moisture they need to start growing roots.

Tips

  • Clean and disinfect all your garden tools with soap and water before using them to stop the spread of pests and fungus.[13]

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Plant a nectar bar

A vibrant garden needs pollinators. Grow any of these plants for the sweet nectar, pollen, and flat landing surfaces that butterflies and bees love.

Grow them: Set out plants in a spot that gets full sun (Buddleja can also take light shade), in soil that drains well. Once roots are established, most take moderate water; give sunflowers regular water.

More: 21 best plants for pollinators

Anatomy of a hard-working kitchen garden

Raised beds: Densely planted steel beds, each 3 by 6 1/2 ft., produce an amazing amount of food. The harvest, from May to October: eggplant (3 types, 40 lbs.), lemon cucumbers (30 lbs.), peppers (3 types, 7 lbs.), squash (2 types, 70 lbs.), plus 3 cantaloupes and 20 onions.

Espalier: Serving as a fence at the property edge, a 30-ft. steel espalier supports 6 fruit trees: Asian pear, ‘Bearss’ lime, blood orange, cherry, European pear, and ‘Pixie’ mandarin.

Other materials: River rock, decomposed granite, and concrete pavers keep the space tidy and easily accessible for tending.

More: 10 raised bed garden ideas

Kale

Cynthia Sapna / Getty Images

Kale is an annual leafy green vegetable that grows quickly in cool weather. A cousin to cabbage and broccoli, it can be planted directly in garden soil as a seed, or grown indoors and transplanted. It can handle frost, which can actually improve the flavor of its leaves, but doesn’t do well in summer heat, which causes it to bolt and grow bitter. Baby kale leaves can be harvested in as little as three weeks, with leaves reaching maturity after 40 to 60 days. Like other leafy greens, you can cut the amount you need and leave the plant to regrow until your next harvest.

USDA Growing Zones: n Exposure: Full sun to partial shade.Soil Needs: Rich, loamy, well-draining soil.

Gardening in Spring Frequently Asked Questions

Spring gardening is a joy. If you plan to make the most of this spring gardening, explore the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions on the topic to ace your spring gardening journey.

When should you start a spring garden? Start in early spring once the frost has lifted and the soil is workable. That way, you’ll have enough time to prepare your flower beds, design your garden, and grow flowers of your choice. Make sure to check our spring gardening checklist so you won’t forget anything. What is early spring for gardening? The term “early spring” in the gardening world is not fixed. It’s different for people living in different parts of the world. It’s basically that time of the year when the garden is thawed enough to work with again. Check our spring gardening ideas for inspiration. What vegetables can you plant in early spring? Some beginner-friendly, cool-season vegetables to plant in early spring are lettuce, carrots, beets, radishes, kale, broccoli, peas, cauliflower, and spinach. Make sure to avoid planting vegetables like tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, and peppers in early spring as they need slightly warmer temperatures to grow. How do I prepare my garden for spring planting? First, put on your inspection hat and see whether your garden is in proper shape. Next, prune your plants and trees, divide old perennials, prepare your flower beds, and add mulch before you begin planting. For more tips and ideas, check our spring gardening guide.

Can I plant garlic in the spring?

Yes, you can plant garlic in the spring. You can grow it for a crop of green garlic or you can grow it to produce bulbs. Green garlic, also called spring garlic, is the garlic equivalent of scallions. The plants form slender stalks with bright green leaves and small bulbs. You can eat the whole plant with the most tender leaves, stalks and bulbs ideal for salads, sautés, pastas, and other dishes that benefit from a garlicky kick. The tougher leaves can be turned into pesto or used to add flavour to oil before cooking. To plant green garlic, tuck garlic cloves in the garden in early spring spacing them closely, about two to three inches apart. Start harvesting when the plants are twelve to eighteen inches tall. Learn more about green garlic here

The main reason gardeners grow garlic, however, is for bulbs. And the secret to growing good-sized bulbs from spring-planted garlic is getting the cloves in the ground as early as possible and then providing ideal growing conditions. I’ll cover all that below, but it’s important to note that your spring-planted garlic bulbs will likely be a bit smaller than those planted in the autumn. It’s nothing you’ve done wrong, but fall-planted garlic has a head start on the growing season. Another difference between spring and fall-planted garlic is that the harvest season shifts. Fall-planted garlic is dug in early to mid summer, depending on your region. Spring-planted garlic needs a couple of extra weeks to catch up and is harvested in mid to late summer.

The shoots of this spring-planted garlic bed have
The shoots of this spring-planted garlic bed have emerged around a month after planting.

Swiss Chard

Jenny Dettrick / Getty Images

Swiss chard, a leafy vegetable with a distinctive, peppery taste, can be planted in early spring and harvested before summer. In zones 6-10 it’s biennial; otherwise, it’s annual. Though chard takes about 50 days to fully mature, you can begin harvesting young leaves 25 days after planting. With bright green leaves and thick stems of purple, red, or yellow, chard can function as both a crop and a landscaping plant. 

USDA Growing Zones: 6-10 (biennial); 3-10 (annual).Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade.Soil Needs: Rich, fertile, well-draining soil.

General Yard Maintenance

Spring is a great time to add the compost bin you&
Spring is a great time to add the compost bin you’ve always wanted. Source: mjmonty

This is the time of year to check your irrigation system for leaks, as well as for good spray distribution. If you’re using an above-ground system, replace any damaged hose or drip flags at this time. Check these as soon as the ground has thawed enough that freezing pipes aren’t a risk.

Spring is also ideal for adding long-term garden features. If you haven’t developed a compost pile yet, now’s the time to add one, even if it’s something as simple as a compost tumbler. You’ll be developing lots of green waste, and why not turn that into rich, lush soil? Constructing your potting bench now would also be a good choice.

Replace old mulch around pathways during the spring. This is important to prevent weed appearance, but also just generally makes the yard look more appealing. Any large mulched areas you may have can be re-mulched at this point, too.

Catch vines before they take over. Does your neighbor have a vining plant that tends to devour your fence during the summer? If you catch it in the spring before it can get established, you can keep it from ever taking control.

For that matter, fence repair is a great idea at this time of year. This is a good time to re-secure those loose boards or replace any which warped under the weight of snow or ice. The ground is soft, so if you need to replace an older stretch of fence, grab those post hole diggers and get to it!

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