There is just something about Spring that makes us all want to freshen things up.  We go to such lengths as taking the screens off our windows,  buying new throw pillows.

(just me??) and for some reason, our preferred cleaning instrument of choice is a Q-Tip, because let’s be honest, we feel like we are REALLY getting things done when the Q-Tips come out. 

Our gardens also like a Spring cleaning before we make them beautiful again after a long dormant Winter.  We are going to talk about 5 steps you can take right now to get your garden ready for Spring.

1. Clean Your Garden Bed

Take the time to remove debris, such as rocks, sticks, etc., from your raised bed.  It is especially important to remove those rocks from your bed, as root vegetables need room to grow.

2.Dig Up & Loosen the Soil

It is important to loosen up the soil that has been compacted during the Winter season.  Getting a pitchfork and/or a shovel and tossing the dirt will do wonders for the health of your soil, which is the lifeblood of your garden.  When doing this you will get to know the consistency of your soil; do you have silty soil or clay soil?  How is the PH of your soil?  EXPERT ADVICE: check out this feature from Gardener’s on how to deal with silty and clay soil, along with how to test the PH of your soil and methods of adjusting the PH.

3. Add Compost, Topsoil & Fertilizer

As mentioned above, soil is the lifeblood of  your garden: healthy soil=healthy garden. This garden soil combination  from Weed ’em & Reap is pretty amazing, containing materials such as coconut husks and worm castings (who knew worms fed both fish and your garden!) However, not all vegetables need the same amount of fertilizer.  For example, vine crops such as tomatoes, bean and peas, need little fertilizer to thrive, while your root vegetables like a good dose in their soil.  Do a little homework and figure out how much and what ratio of fertilizer is best for you.  Whatever amendments you work  into your garden soil, do it about 2 weeks before you plant to allow the soil to soak up all the nutrients.

4.Design Your Garden Space (my favorite step!)

You have worked hard to get your garden bed ready, now you get to plan how to make it work for you!  TIP: plan squares vs. rows.  Many of us think we need to plan our garden in rows, but you will maximize your square foot space if you plant in squares. I get excited about efficiency, especially in the garden.  Another great way to make the most out of your raised bed is to go vertical; so add some peas, beans, or and other vine plants and get the most out of your garden space!   Beginner Gardener Tool: grab a glass of whatever makes you happy (cab sav for me!) and head on over to Gardeners Supply where they have done the work for you with their garden planner.  They have pre-planned square foot gardens, or you build your own! 

5. Get Your Garden Tools Ready

Your tools might look a little scary after spending the winter in the shed, or buried under a some kind of pile during the winter (who me? never!) but fear not, a little soap, oil and sand can get the job done.  Rinse off your tools in warm water with a mild soap and be sure

to dry thoroughly.  Fill a large pot with sand and enough vegetable oil to moisten the sand.  Give your tools a couple of dips in this mixture (dipping your tools in the sand after each use throughout the Spring/Summer is a good idea) and wipe them down.  Your tools are ready to work for you this Spring!