Although here in Ontario in March, it is almost guaranteed that we will get more snow, it is starting to feel a lot more like spring. This has me starting to think about my spring garden prep list. Every spring there are a few things that get done to ensure that the garden is ready for the season ahead.
Spring Garden Prep List
Review and Repair
Once the snow finally disappears, I will walk through and see how the garden has survived the winter. This includes checking if any of the raised garden beds or the fence needs repair. I will also access if I need to add any mulch to the pathways. Making these repairs early in the season before the garden is planted makes it considerably easier.
For my garden, I practice “no-till” gardening methods, this means that I do not till or turn over the soil. No-till methods are thought to improve the overall health of the soil with improved biological diversity, fertility, water retention and many other things. To loosen the soil before planting I use a garden fork to aerate the soil. Due to the size of my raised beds, a garden fork is more practical, than a traditional broadfork. Aerating the soil allows air, water and nutrients to reach deep into the garden beds.
To ensure that I’m always replacing the fertility in the soil that is removed with the harvests, I add compost to the garden bed between planting. This means that either in the fall or spring every garden bed will have 1-2″ of compost added. Finding a reliable source of compost is an important factor in the success of your garden.
My garden is set up with drip irrigation in each bed, which is controlled by a water timer. This is very helpful for me given my work schedule as well as wanting to enjoy some holidays in the summer. An irrigation system in Ontario does require seasonal maintenance to ensure it doesn’t freeze and create leaks. In the spring, I need to reinstall some components and set up my water pump, as well I test run the system to ensure there are no repairs necessary. This is another item that is much easier to manage before the garden is full of plants.
Depending on my garden plan for the year, there may be setup or adjustments needed to the location of the trellis’ or the landscape fabric I like to use. This depends on how I’ve planned to rotate the crops each year.
So that’s my spring garden prep, and of course, this will change depending on your garden setup. I find that this list gets the gardening season off to a good start on the right foot. If you haven’t already, you can check out some of the plants I’m planning to grow this year here.
“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt” – Margaret Attwood