Preparing for the Magic of Spring

comments (11) March 22nd, 2016

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Philip P. Philip P., member
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Spring is almost here, and with it comes the promise of fresh fruits and vegetables and beautiful blooms. As any gardener can tell you, there's a kind of magic in working with the land to produce nutrition for the body and beauty for the spirit. No matter what kind of space you have, from an urban rooftop to a country acre, you can be a part of this magic. Depending on the type of garden you want to conjure up and nurture, there are a few things you can do to prepare for spring planting.


Tool Care


It's always a good idea to inspect and repair your gardening tools before planting season. Removing rust spots, oiling hinges and sharpening blades not only make gardening tasks like pruning easier and extends the life of your tools, but also helps reduce the transmission of plant diseases. For example, mosaic viruses can infect more than 150 types of plants, resulting in stunted growth, mottled leaves and fewer fresh vegetables. While these viruses can also infect fruits and flowers, tomatoes, squash and cucumbers are especially susceptible. Cutting the stem of an infected plant, and then using the same blade to prune an uninfected plant is one way that the virus is transmitted.


Choosing What to Grow


Perusing seed catalogs that provide beautiful illustrations of the plants that the seeds will one day become is an enjoyable and informative yearly ritual for many gardeners. For beginning gardeners, it's important to consider factors such as climate, soil quality, and sun exposure when deciding what to plant. One fabulous guide provides information about when, where and how to plant, care for, and harvest nearly every type of fruit and vegetable. Cornell University offers a similarly impressive guide for planting and growing almost any type of flower imaginable.


Testing the Soil


Not all soils are suitable for providing adequate nutrients for all types of plants. For example, sandy soils are less capable of holding water, while clay soils may be too dense to provide adequate oxygenation. Some soils are more acidic, and others too alkaline, to support some types of plants. To determine the pH balance of your soil, you can use one of the simple soil test kits available at any home improvement store. Using the results, you can purchase soil supplementsthat will optimize its nutritive value.


Preparing the Soil


Removing weeds and tilling the ground will help loosen soil that has compacted during the winter. Aerated soil absorbs nutrients better. A few weeks before planting, it's a good idea to cover your garden bed with an inch of compost. Mulching infuses the soil with nutrients and improve its ability to utilize water and nourish your plants. It also reduces water loss and deters the growth of weeds. Inorganic mulches like pebbles, gravel and plastic also prevent evaporation and weed growth, but don't enrich the soil like organic mulches. Crops that require especially nutrient-rich soil include cabbage, broccoli, tomatoes and peppers.


Disease and Pest Control


Most people are aware of the hazards of using chemicals to deal with insects, and luckily, there are a number of natural remedies available that are almost as effective and don't threaten the water supply or change the chemical composition of the soil. For example, placing copper rings around plant stems can discourage snails from approaching and feeding on them. Coffee grounds sprinkled throughout the garden repel slugs while adding nitrogen, which promotes leaf growth, to the soil. Compost tea can serve as a safe, organic fungicide as well as a natural fertilizer. Bat guano, high in phosphorus, and worm castings, which also impart nitrogen, are excellent natural fertilizers.


Whatever kind of garden you'd like to grow this spring, taking these simple steps in preparation will help ensure that the only things growing in your garden will be the fresh fruits and vegetables and beautiful blooms that you decide to plant.


posted in: garden, soil, spring, plants, prepare

Comments (11)

ammyclark writes: Great one post
Posted: 8:05 am on September 30th
AlexVardy writes: I will try to make my garden similar
Posted: 9:00 am on August 14th
Mariewhite writes: Nice one ..I will try to make my garden similar
Posted: 12:19 pm on August 12th
JessePinkman writes: Love it
Posted: 10:07 am on August 7th
machirano writes: Looks cool. Post a finished photo!
Posted: 4:42 am on August 7th
bradlewilliams writes: Beautiful flowers! I will try to make something similar :) I hope to be good
Posted: 11:32 am on August 2nd
josephgarcia writes: most popular design.
Posted: 2:25 am on August 2nd
toriwilson writes: Thumb's up very Nice
Posted: 11:33 am on August 1st
markhunt writes: Beautiful flowers! It's really besutiful
Posted: 1:55 am on July 29th
KayClayton writes: Beautiful flowers!
Posted: 6:50 am on July 4th
halliekeith writes: heloo friends .. how are you.. i read very interesting information here.. thanks for sharing this
Posted: 2:30 am on March 28th
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