Spring is finally here. After months of winter, we’re ready to get out and get active. And even if you live in an apartment or a home with little or no yard, you can still enjoy the benefits of gardening.
- Start with a plan. You don’t need to landscape your entire yard in one season. Plan for what you can do this year, and then next year, you can add more.
- A simple soil test is the first step in understanding what you need to do to create healthy soil. If you’re new to gardening, this is a good place to start. Even if you’re an experienced gardener, you might find it helpful to learn more about your soil.
- Once you know what your soil needs, you can amend it before planting. If you’re adding organic matter and nutrients to your soil, make sure to dig them in so that they interact with the existing soil well before you plant anything. For a new garden area or for an existing garden where soil conditions are poor, it’s best to give your plants a head start by amending the top several inches of soil (to about 8 inches deep).
- Choosing plants. Pay attention to whether the plant is an annual or perennial, meaning it will return each year. Annuals are great for adding pops of color but require more work to replace each season. Perennials come back each spring, so they’re less work over time but may require some initial digging and planting. Trees and shrubs are also perennials that provide privacy and shade over time.
- Once your plants arrive, take them out of their pots immediately and soak their roots in water before planting. Make sure you have the right tools for digging holes for your plants and replacing soil around them. A few handy tools include shovels, hoes, rakes and wheelbarrows (for hauling dirt). Most hardware stores have starter kits that include several garden tools at a discount price.