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Give Your Garden a Head Start! What You Can Do Now | Almanac.com

Give Your Garden a Head Start! What You Can Do Now

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Get organized, cleaned up, and ready for spring gardening!

The Editors

Counting the days until growing season? Give your garden a head start! Get ready for spring and make the most of the natural pause of winter so that when spring arrives you can hit the ground running! Here’s what we can get on top of now.

Imagine if when spring arrived everything was already beautifully in place for you to enjoy a head start on the growing season. It’s a wonderfully empowering thought!  There’s lots to do so let’s get started with what we can do now to put ourselves in the best possible position for spring. 

Note: If some activities are a little early for your climate, there’s plenty to tackle or take notes because your time will be soon enough!

Weeding in Late Winter

  • Late winter can be a really great time of year to get on and weed for areas which aren’t snowed in. With growth pretty much paused for a few months, it gives us the chance to get ahead, particularly when it comes to those more persistent perennial weeds.
  • When you weed, take the time to chase roots right along to where they end, removing as much of the root system as you can. This will save so much time weeding during the growing season when you’ll be constantly chasing your tail!

Leave the Leaves

  • If you have loads of leaves on the ground, just let them rot down for now. As in nature, the leaf litter delivers nutrients and protect the soil. Once you’re ready to plant, you can remove the leaves.

Topping up Paths and Replacing Beds

  • If you use wood chips or other material for paths, it may be time for a top-up.
  • If you have raised garden beds which are rotting or need replacement, make plans to cut the materials and get the beds installed.
  • If you had birds or pest problems last year, you may also want to invest in netting. Do some research on the crops are planning.

Mulching Fruit Bushes

If you have fruit mulches, mulch around them with organic matter such as decomposed bark chippings. Spread around to a depth of around an inch, keeping the trunk clear to avoid rotting.

Ornamental Borders and Beds

You can cut down old stems any time but we prefer to leave until later in winter. It may look messy, but a small price to pay so ensure that hibernating bugs aren’t disturbed; they love to hide right down in the old stems or even inside hollow stems.

Greenhouse Spring Clean

If you have a greenhouse, plant house, cold frame—any form of permanent or semi-permanent cold protection—then now’s the time give it a thorough clean before things get busy. Get ahead now, and you’ll be all set for all that sowing and growing!

If you haven’t done a deep cleaning in a few years, it may be time! It’s a big job but satisfying to get done.

  • Remove everything from the greenhouse: old pots, bags, bits of cardboard, row covers, tools and, of course, plants—the lot! It’s worth doing all of this on a relatively mild day, so as not to shock overwintering plants too much.
  • If weeds grow inside the interior, you may need to do a little weeding.
  • Then sweep and brush down all the interior surfaces. Be sure to get into every nook, cranny, fold and corner.
  • If your hose is turned on, blast the surfaces clean with a jet of water! Otherwise, this bit may need to wait until later in the year. The inside and outside windows will need cleaning, too. Blast water while scrubbing with the brush.
  • Spray down everything that will go back into the greenhouse, too! Move anything organic onto the compost heap if you have one.

Planting Bulbs

Consider the outside of the greenhouse or any structures as well; weed and sweep and clean as needed. If you’d like, plant some bulbs around your structures to add color. Winter flowers you might like to plant include violets, wallflowers, primroses and cyclamen.

Also, see which hardy perennial flower seeds are best for winter sowing.

Storing Tools

When the main growing season arrives, you will need everything necessary for the job to hand, which is why it’s so important to sort your tool store and accessories out right now, before things get busy. See how to clean and sharpen garden tools.

Pots and tray also need to be cleaned with hot water and soap. Finally, if you have a seeding station, make sure you have everything you need from the cleaned pots to plug trays to compost storage and so forth. Consider what else you may need? How about bamboo canes or some type of structure for climbing peas and vines. They’re easier to get hold of now; later in the season, all the stores will be out. Be smart and get one step ahead of the crowd!

Seed Storage

Finally, it’s time to sort out seeds. See which seeds from last year can be saved by doing a seed germination test. See our article on how long seeds last. It’s a good idea to organize seeds by month of sowing. And of course, if you don’t have a garden plan, finish your garden plan so you know which seeds you need to buy.

We use the online Garden Planner which tells us when to plant what. As you buy the seeds, keep them organized by month of sowing, starting with those which may be sown in only a few weeks!

Gardening Calendar

Jane (not verified)

5 months ago

Great video! The greenhouse clean up was so thorough and complete and even though it's undoubtedly hard work, it motivated me to get out there to start on mine, especially on a sunny day like today! I love the idea of putting a chair in the greenhouse to do sit down work. My dad used to use his as a place of retreat and write his daily garden notes there. Time to get moving, spring is on the way!