Let’s talk about early spring gardening chores. There’s plenty of things you can do to prepare your garden for healthy plants!
I have lived in cold, northern climates and warm, southern climates. And no matter where I live, I get the same gardening itch every time it is early spring. The weather teases me; with cold/rainy/windy/blizzard weather one day, and then 2-3 days in a row of delightful sun and warmth.
While there are certainly plants that can be started or planted in early spring (check out my Early Spring Garden Plant list for inspiration), for the most part, early spring is that antsy time for gardeners where you want to play/work/plant in the garden but you know that you shouldn’t yet.
Fortunately, this is the perfect time to do some early spring gardening chores! Huzzah? I’ll be the first to admit that gardening chores are not as much fun as planting and growing fruits, herbs, vegetables, and flowers.
I find it very tempting every spring to procrastinate those springtime gardening chores. However, it’s best to get them done! And since early spring is a restless time for me, where I want to do something, ANYTHING, in my garden, I’ve created this list of early spring gardening chores to get me focused and excited for this year’s gardening dreams and goals.
By the way, did I miss any major spring gardening chores in my list? Please let me know of other things you do in your garden in early spring in the comments below!
Don’t forget to also spend time in early spring doing the following: planning your garden and getting seeds from the best organic seed companies.
Early Spring Gardening Chores:
1. Make an Inventory Check of Your Gardening Gear
This is a gardening chore that takes place both indoors and outdoors. Check over everything that you use for your garden and make a list of what you need to buy before gardening gets into full-swing. Here’s just a sample of things you should look for:
- Gardening Gloves: Some people like to garden with bare hands, and while I understand the glory of dirt under the fingernails, I wear gardening gloves for safety purposes. I am particular about my gardening gloves (what type do you use?), so I buy a package of these gardening gloves every spring.
- Proper Garden Footwear: I hope you don’t garden in flip flop sandals! Be safe and proper and get a good, sturdy pair of garden boots or shoes, some type of footwear that can get dirty and protect your toes from, for example (these have all happened to me), heavy bags of dirt slipping from your fingers, or bricks that slip from your fingers, or a heavy basket of produce that slips from your fingers. These are my favorite gardening boots. I’ve been wearing them every day in my garden for over three years now.
- Garden Markers: I used to try to get away without garden markers. I keep careful notes in my garden notebook where I plant everything. But it always happens where I forget my garden notebook inside, and I’m staring at a plant and I have no idea what it is. It’s best for your sanity to just use some garden markers. These are the garden markers that I use.
- Garden Tools: Did you lose or break any garden tools last season? Figure out if you need to purchase any new garden tools.
- Drip Irrigation supplies: Do you use drip irrigation in your garden? I used to water my garden by hand, but I expanded my garden so much that it was impossible to keep up with it. So I use automatic drip irrigation now. If you also use drip irrigation, check out your gear and see if you need to buy a drip irrigation repair and expansion kit.
- Seed starting supplies: If you are starting seeds indoors, make sure you have everything you need to start seeds BEFORE your seeds arrive in the mail. This seed starting kit has everything you need. Basically, do you have enough trays, heating mats, lights, peat pots, etc.?
2. Stock Up on Soil Amendments and Organic Fertilizers
Check over your inventory of organic gardening fertilizers and soil amendments so that you can work hard and smoothly in your garden in the busy seasons. Here’s a brief overview of the main garden products you should have on hand for optimal garden soil health. Depending on the plant, garden soil needs boosts for nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. I’ve written about the needs of each plant in all of my ‘how to grow’ posts (search in my gardening posts for specific plants). For a very generic list of needs for plants, check out my crop rotation guide.
- For Nitrogen: Add fish emulsion or blood meal for a boost in nitrogen levels.
- For Potassium: Wood ash is the best source for a boost in potassium. Kelp meal will help with potassium and somewhat for nitrogen deficiencies.
- For Phosphorus: Add bone meal to your garden soil if you need a boost in phosphorus. Check out my post on problems with growing root vegetables for more details on the importance of phosphorus.
Some other good organic fertilizers to have on hand include: epsom salt for magnesium issues, and dolomitic lime for both calcium and magnesium issues.
Some other good soil amendments/minerals include: perlite, vermiculite, and azomite. These are great for helping with keeping your soil light, or helping with a boost of minerals, or helping your soil hold in moisture. I promise to write more details about all of these later.
3. Calculate the Compost and/or Manure You Need to Prepare and/or Purchase
No matter how healthy your garden soil, you should always top off the garden every spring with some fresh nutrient-rich soil. I make my own compost, however, since there are only two of us in our household, we don’t make enough compost from our food scraps for my garden’s needs.
I have raised garden beds, so it’s pretty easy for me to calculate how many cubic feet of manure and/or compost that I need to purchase from a local source.
In a pinch, I will simply buy some manure from a local feed store; however, whenever possible, I like to buy compost from my local university, Clemson University, because they have a great composting program at their school and it can be purchased in large quantities. Make sure you try to find the best-quality compost and manure near you!
Remember that most manures need to be aged before putting them on your gardens, so if you raise your own livestock, make sure you put aside some manure to age ASAP in the early spring for your garden. Unless you raise rabbits for their manure like me, since rabbit manure can be put immediately in the garden.
If you plan on ordering compost in bulk, remember that it can take a while for it to be ready for you, which is why you should figure out how much you need to buy and order it as soon as you can in early spring.
4. Clean Your Garden Beds
I know that early spring can play games with you: one day it’s raining, then it’s freezing/snowing, etc. But whenever you have one of those awesome warm and sunny spring-like days, get out in your garden and start cleaning it up.
Here’s a brief overview of what you need to do to clean up your garden:
- Prune Your Perennials: Most perennials (herbs, flowers, etc.) need to be pruned in the early spring. It helps revitalize them for a new season of growing. Make sure you look up info on your specific plants, but for the most part, perennial plants need to be pruned in early spring.
- Clean Up Leaves and Debris: There is a debate among gardeners about whether you should pull out dead plants in late fall or wait until spring. One side says if you leave dead plants, you risk diseases in your soils and bad pests hibernating there. The other side says that if you leave dead plants, you offer a habitat for beneficial insects, especially butterflies. I prefer leaving anything that died from the first frost in my garden in the winter. Anything that was weak or dying from something else, I pull out. That’s my compromise. No matter your preference, early spring is the time to pull out any dead plants and either remove the leaves or break them up and mix them up in the soil.
- Pull Out Your Weeds: The first thing to grow every year is all those blasted weeds. Make sure you get them down to their roots so they don’t just come back up! I like to pull weeds right after a rain, so the soil is loose and easier to work with.
5. Add New Soil, Compost, Manure, and/or Soil Amendments to Your Garden
Once you have cleaned your garden beds, and your deliveries of new soil amendments and compost/etc. have arrived, it’s time to start filling up your garden with your optimal soil additions!
For example, I am adding bone meal along with compost to my raised bed for my root vegetables so that the additional phosphorus can help produce healthy and large bulbs/roots to eat.
Since my tomatoes are heavy feeders, I will be putting lime in the soil and using a very rich combination of compost and manure in that garden bed.
If you feel overwhelmed about put specific soils in specific areas for your plants, at the very least, just add a few inches of compost to the top of your existing soil and mix it up a bit.
6. Clean Your Garden Tools
I love to save this early spring gardening chore for those miserable days. You know, when the forecast says it’s gonna rain/blizzard/etc. for the next 3 days in a row.
That’s when my gardening impatience is the worst. And that’s when I grab my rusty and dull garden tools and give them a good polish and some good care. Here’s an awesome video about how to clean the rust off of your garden tools.
Once you get the rust off of your garden tools from the tips in that video, check out these tips for how to sharpen your garden tools.
Finally, don’t forget to also disinfect your seed trays and pots!
7. Start Planting the Early Spring Gardening Vegetables
Now that you have everything ready: cleaned up garden beds, fresh compost in your garden, proper garden tools and equipment, it’s time to get planting! YEAH!!!!
Sometimes, people tell me that they don’t like arugula, peas, and/or radishes. Those are of the earliest spring crops to plant and eat. For me, they might not all be my favorites, but they are the first seeds I can direct sow in my garden, so I’ll keep on growing them forever and ever.
There is just no better feeling of joy in early spring than from planting my first seeds. <3
Here is my list of Early Spring Fruits and Vegetables that you can start growing and loving.
There is also plenty of plants you can start from seed indoors in the early spring. Here’s my list of Spring Plants that shows when to start vegetables and fruits indoors.
Early Spring Gardening Chores List…did this help you?
So there you go, a list of early spring gardening chores, in an order that should go smoothly and help keep the chaos away from your spring garden. This list includes both indoor and outdoor spring garden chore ideas. I tried to include everything important for the garden. Did I miss anything? Please let me know in the comments below! I love expanding my knowledge in gardening!