Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Spring Cleaning the Vegetable Garden

Spring is finally here, though we haven’t really seen those warmer temperatures in Maine. Yes we were spoiled a few weeks back with sunny days reaching into the 80's, but now we’re back to typical Maine weather. Though all the wind we’ve had makes it a pain to rake, it sure does help dry things up.

If you’re like me, you’re itching to get outside and into the garden. I’ve waited all winter to dig my hands into the soil and spend my evenings outside quietly working away amongst my vegetables. Though we can’t quite plant our gardens yet, there are plenty of things to do in preparation.

Since I grow a big vegetable garden each year - organic of course, I always have plenty of things to do while waiting for the last threat of frost to pass and soil temperatures to warm. It may be early spring, but it’s never too early to get started.

Spring Cleaning To Do List

  • Plan! Decide which vegetables to plant, how many, and where
  • Buy Seeds (hold off on seedlings just yet) Order seeds from catalogues or scour the store shelves
  • Clear Garden Plot - Remove all debris from the garden plot (branches, trash, dead plants etc.)
  • Add Organic Fertilizer - Amend the garden now by adding an organic fertilizer and tilling into the soil
  • Prepare Rows - Stake out garden rows now and set up trellises etc. for growing vining vegetables. Marking rows now will make planting go a lot easier
  • Keep Weeds at Bay - Check the garden plot a few times a week and pull any weeds before they get out of hand
  • Tools - Dig out your garden tools for inspection. Make sure they’re clean and ready to go
This is what I’ll be doing until the end of April until early May when I’ll finally be able to get into the garden and sow my crop. I’ve already purchased my seeds and decided where I’ll be planting which vegetables, making sure to rotate my veggies so they aren’t planted in the same spots as last year.

I remove all dead plants in the fall because this helps cut down on the bad insect population in my garden - pests like to over winter under dead plant debris. My plot is still a little too wet for tilling so I’m going to have to hold off on that for another week or so and then add a good layer of year-old cow manure as fertilizer.

I’ve already cleared away the few branches that fell in my garden and anything else that blew in over the winter. While I patiently wait for April to cruise into May, I’ll be tidying up other areas of the yard and preparing my garden for this year’s harvest.

What’s on your spring cleaning to do list?

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