Everyone knows that April showers bring May flowers. Well those April showers are gone, May is here, and now it's time to start getting ready to plant your garden sometime around Memorial Day weekend.
Gardening is one of the most rewarding hobbies that any homeowner can participate in over the course of the spring and summer months. Whether you have been working your land for years or are just getting started, we’ve put together a list of a few tips and tricks to help you get the absolute best results from your garden this year!
Take Inventory of Your Tools
The first step in any gardening project is to make sure that you have the right tools for the job. Over the course of your gardening career, you are almost certainly going to require a few different sized shovels, a rake, and some version of pruning shears.
You are also going to need to get water to your garden, so you will want to make sure that your hoses and nozzles are in good working order. If you are planning a smaller garden, a simple watering can will work just fine. If you have something bigger in mind, maybe you should look into building your own drip irrigation system.
Pro-Tip: This is a great time of year to replace all of the o-ring seals in your hoses, which can save you a ton of aggravation by not getting soaked every time you use the hose over the course of the summer!
Evaluate Your Soil
Once you have all of the necessary tools in place, the next step is to figure out exactly where you are going to be planting. If you haven’t picked out a location just yet, you’ll want to focus on flat areas of your yard that get plenty of sunlight.
In the past, it was a common procedure to simply section off an area of the yard and dig out the grass. But in recent years, building raised beds that you can fill with premium soil has become increasingly popular. These “garden boxes” can be constructed relatively easily with little to no previous construction experience.
No matter what type of garden you are starting with, it is going to be a good idea to get your soil tested. But don’t worry, this is easy to do and will save you a ton of aggravation down the road. Just take a sample bag of soil from your garden to your local hardware store and ask about getting it tested.
Once you know what nutrients are lacking in your soil, you can put together a game plan to improve it. Odds are pretty good that this game plan will include some form of compost or manure.
Guard Against Garden Enemies
If you are starting with nutrient rich soil that gets plenty of sunlight, gardening is actually not very difficult. The next big concern that you will want to watch out for is all of the pesky bugs and animals that can ruin your harvest.
Bugs can be a tricky issue because most of us who plan to grow our own food would like to avoid spraying that food with pesticides. But there are quite a few organic remedies that actually work pretty well.
However, the biggest problem in many backyard gardens is the little animals like rabbits, groundhogs, and even deer that will invade your yard and devour your crops. The best defenses against theses animals are raised beds and basic fencing.
Pro Tip: Spreading coffee grounds in your soil is a great way to keep slugs away.
Start Your Seeds
Early spring is also the time to decide what you are going to plant in your garden, and to get those seeds started. In many parts of the country, the threat of frost is still way to high to plant anything outdoors, but most expert gardeners have already started planting seeds indoors.
You can pick up an indoor greenhouse kit and all the seeds you might want at your local home improvement center. But you also might want to consider checking around online for higher-end organic seeds.
Once your seeds have sprouted and the weather is warming up, you might want to check out sites like SmartGardner.com for help with how to lay out your garden. They have some really innovative tools to make sure you are getting the most out of your space!
Depending on your experience level and the amount of time you are willing to commit, gardening can be a very fulfilling hobby that also helps keep your family in fresh vegetables all summer long.
As the old Chinese proverb says, “Life begins the day you start a garden.”