Prepare for Your Summer Vegetable Garden Now, Even in Spring

Prepare for your summer garden now

By the end of winter, most of us are ready for spring. We crave the warmth of spring. We love the rain and the smell of the soil. If you’re a gardener, you’re probably even itching to get your vegetable garden started. What do you do when that spring gardening bug hits you, but it’s still too cold to plant outdoors? Here are a few tasks to keep you busy until that last frost clears and you can get your plants in the ground.

Clean up your space

Most gardeners have some kind of space where they keep their garden tools and supplies. It might be a space in your garage, a shed, or even a potting bench. Spring is the perfect time to clean and organize these spaces. Check that you have plenty of fertilizer and potting soil. Fix or replace structures like tomato cages and plant supports. Get these things done now before the weather turns nice and you’d rather be working outside.

Care for your tools

If you haven’t checked your gardening tools in a while, now’s the time. Sharpen and oil your tools as needed. You can prevent rust and corrosion by taking good care of your tools. Replace tools as needed. It’s also a lot easier to get your gardening work done when your tools are in good shape.

Plan and order

Use the cold weather to your advantage. Take some time to plan which types of vegetables you’d like to plant. You can even create a rough map of what you’d like to plant and where. This stage of planning can help you decide if you’ll need more garden beds or not. Once you’ve decided what you’d like to plant you can order your plants or seeds or shop around for the best prices.

Evaluate your planter beds

Do you garden in raised planter beds? Check that they’re in good condition, with no bowing sides or damage. Fix any potential damage to old planter beds and plan and build new ones. Use the cooler weather as a chance to get your hardscaping in place.

Clear away weeds and debris

No matter how much work you put into clearing up your garden in the fall, there’s bound to be some debris or even weeds in the spring. On a warm spring day, clear away any mulch, weeds, and debris from your garden beds. Clear until you get down to your bare soil so you’re ready to prep it for plants.

Prepare your soil

As soon as you can work in your soil, get it ready for plants. Even if the weather is still too cold for plants for another few weeks, you can prepare your soil for your vegetable plants. Loosen the soil by tilling it. Add compost and/or amendments. Rake the soil so it’s level, and water it. Now it’s ready for vegetables.

Early planting

Spring is a great time to do some early planting. Depending on the climate where you live, you may need to start some of your plants indoors. Certain plants like tomatoes or peppers should be started indoors while more hardy vegetables like onions or potatoes can be planted outdoors. Be prepared to cover seedlings against late frosts if you start plants outdoors.

Mulch garden beds

Your soil is ready. You’re just waiting for plants. If you know you’ll be working with plants that have already been seeded (or purchased from a local nursery), it’s not hard to mulch first, then add your plants when it’s warm enough. It’s critical to mulch your garden beds to cut back on weeds. When you don’t add mulch, weeds will grow.

By tackling certain tasks before summer, you can help ensure the success of your summer vegetable garden. Use this spring to get ready for summer gardening.