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Spring Gardening Quick Tips for Starting a Great Garden This Year (and Every Year)

Spring Gardening Quick Tips for Starting a Great Garden This Year (and Every Year)

With spring finally upon us, gardeners are ready to wake up their gardens.

Here are some things you need to do to prepare yourself for peak gardening season, no matter which zone you grow in.


Test the viability of your seeds — vegetables, herbs and flowers — left over from seasons past. Spread out a few seeds from your hoard on one half of a damp piece of paper towel, then fold the towel over the seeds and seal them in a sandwich plastic bag, being sure to write the name of the seed on the bag. Store them at room temperature and check back in about a week to see if the seeds have germinated. If they haven’t, order replacement seeds so that you’re ready for spring and summer planting.


Whether you’re planning to plant a raised bed garden or tend to an in-ground plot, you’ll need the right tools to have a successful growing season. Think carefully about everything you need, from basic tools to specialty gear — from our very own little Garda Dibble seed-sowing hand tool to a large tumble composter.

Before getting started, mark out the locations of containers, garden beds, tree and shrubs with aerosol garden chalk, which is works like a temporary spray paint that comes in a range of colors (you can buy it at your local garden center or home store).


Even if your seeds are still viable, it’ always a good idea to plant double the number you think you need, just in case some of the seeds don’t germinate (there are no guarantees). Remember, extra seedlings don’t have to go to waste, since you can just pot them and gift any additional babies to family or friends. When starting seeds, sow them twice as deep as the seed is wide — just below the surface for tiny seeds like carrots or roughly a half-inch deep for large ones like beans. Be sure to use a light seed starter or potting mix that drains well instead of heavy garden soil or compost. And always gently water seeds and keep them moist until they germinate. Always start warm-weather veggie seeds like tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash and melons indoors right now to make sure they’re off to a great start by the time they’re ready to go outside (late April in warmer climates and mid-May where there are long winters).


Sow the seeds of warm-weather crops like beans, squash and corn as soon as possible, and cool-season produce — such as root and leafy vegetables — later (early April). If you buy seedlings instead of seeds, don’t put them outside until after the last frost date in your zone to avoid any potential cold snap losses. Consider growing potatoes and other plants in fabric containers (like Smart Pots). Only fill the bag one-third full of soil, cut your potatoes into pieces, being sure that each piece has a couple of eyes, then bury them two inches deep. Gradually add more soil as the sprouts grow until the bag fills up. Be sure to keep them moist (but not drenched) and add an organic fertilizer every two weeks until they flower. Attract pollinators to your garden by planting a wide variety of perennial flowers. Some popular choices include sunflowers, coneflower, daisy, goldenrod, butterfly bush, milkweed, coreopsis, yarrow and aster.

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