Winter can truly test one’s green thumb. Between the hard frost and the constant slush cleaning, it’s hard not to get excited when spring dawns. For one, gardening with raised beds can be particularly gratifying when this season finally arrives.
The joy of spring gardening
Fall gardening isn’t only the gift that keeps on giving. Spring can be quite an exhilarating time to plant too. Once your raised beds are prepared and just before anything grows, there are in-between tasks that are essential.
Newbie gardeners often miss a crucial element in spring gardening: Preparing your raised beds properly. When done so, much of the heavy lifting is already accomplished, and you’ll be saving yourself from foreseeable mistakes.
Prepping your raised beds for spring
Much like any other time of the year, preparing your raised beds for spring is important. Here are tips to ensure you’re making the most of the task.
1. Check for repairs
Raised beds and planters come in various kinds. If yours is made of wood, then it’s good to check in on them. See if there are any repairs needed, and anything that will need replacements. There may be some boards that need to be switched out or corners that need reinforcing.
Check in on the sprinkler lines if they were able to endure the winter frost. See if you can add more landscape fabric and mulch on the pathways so you can also protect your surroundings from weed.
2. Appraise your soil
Tending to your soil is half the battle won. When you have good working soil, you’re protecting your plants from invasive problems and ensuring them a much better yield. During the winter, your soil may have taken a beating. It’s important to check if it’s dried enough to work with. A good test is if there isn’t any mud clumped into your tools when you push it in and pull it back out.
Moreover, soil during early spring tends to sink. It will appear lower than it was during winter. To check, take a bunch of soil and see if it’s compact. If it is, then it’s time. To fluff it up and aerate it a bit. If you don’t till, there are other ways to appraise your soil by adding a top layer of compost, lime, peat and rock phosphate.
3. Work outside of it
A cardinal rule for all raised bed gardeners is to never work inside one. The main purpose of gardening with planters and beds is to have the least amount of soil interaction when unnecessary. The beauty of these beds is the well-drained, fluffy and light soil they are able to keep to maximize growth.
It’s key to invest on raised beds that are just the right size for you. You wouldn’t want to have ones that are too big or too wide that you would always need to get inside of it to nurture the plants inside. If it really can’t be helped that you need to stand on them, lay a plank across it so you don’t step on the soil directly.
4. Divide and stake
Don’t forget to divide your perennials. They are much easier to handle when they are only two to four inches tall. Early perennials can be cut out and added to the compost pile. When working with perennial flowers, remember to plant deep with organic matter.
If you are growing tomatoes, beans, peas and other plants that will need support, remember to set stakes. Take the extra mile by creating shades with sheeting or corrugated panels. This way, you can protect your growing plants from blight. Use screws and work them well with your raised beds. These tiny houses you create for your patches will be worth the work.
Keep these tips in mind when preparing your raised beds for spring gardening. This way, you can make the most of this season and enjoy your bountiful harvest.