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Spring Planting 101
Basics for creating a beautiful garden that’ll last the year

Nothing indicates that spring has sprung better than a lush garden overflowing with blooming bulbs, bright greens and fragrant scents. If daffodils and tulips have a special place in your heart or you dream of adding fresh herbs from your very own garden to your dinner prep routine, these spring planting lessons can make it all both possible and easy.

Create a blueprint for your garden

If you’re starting from scratch, it’s important to hammer out the details of your garden before you begin digging. According to Better Homes and Gardens, first decide on what you are going to grow — flowers (annuals or perennials), fruits, vegetables, herbs or a combination of the above. The magazine recommends that you choose your garden location based on the needs of what you’re planting. Avoid direct sunlight for shade plants and find a sunnier spot for plants that require healthy doses of sunshine.

Prep the area

Once you’ve established where the garden will grow, it’s time to renew the ground and soil after the wrath of winter. If there’s sod where you want to plant, BHG.com says digging it out altogether will provide the quickest and most effective results.

BHG.com writes: “Soil needs a boost. The solution is simple: organic matter. Add a two- to three-inch layer of compost, decayed leaves, dry grass clippings, or old manure. If you dig soil, till the organic matter into the soil. If you decide not to dig or are working with an established bed you can't dig, leave the organic matter on the surface and it will work its way into the soil in a few months.”

Stick to a schedule

Depending on your neck of woods, early spring might still be too cold to crack the earth, so BHG.com recommends starting your garden inside by planting seeds in a temporary indoor garden.

If you take this approach, you won’t have to invest in new planters. There are a variety of containers at your disposal, including some you might already have in your home that are perfect for giving your seedlings a healthy start. Fix.com writer Laura Newcomer suggests adding soil and seeds to citrus fruit halves, K-cups, paper cups, yogurt containers, an egg carton, eggshells or ice cube trays. While these may make for unorthodox planters, they will do the trick perfectly.

Despite the chilliness of early spring, BHG.com says it is the ideal time of year to get potatoes, onions and artichokes in the ground. Mid-spring should bring sunnier days and more pleasing temperatures, which makes the recommended chores of building new flower beds, spreading mulch, transplanting your seedlings and planting “hardy annuals” much easier.

As far as what you should lay down for a vegetable garden or annuals, BHG.com recommends a variety of mulches that will decompose within a few months. When planting perennials, bark chips or some other long-lasting variety of mulch should hold.

Be patient and diligent

Although it’s your garden, Mother Nature is ultimately the one in control, so you might have to bend to her will or at least wait until temperatures and conditions improve in order to create the garden of your dreams. If you don’t see results within the first few weeks, don’t despair. A good garden takes time, love and tenderness to flourish, and it is essential that you provide all of the above.  

With your soil prepped, seeds planted and mulch laid, you might think your job is done, but you’re just beginning. A garden is a living, ever-changing ecosystem you’ve created, and it needs ongoing attention. To keep your garden thriving, BHG.com recommends watering as needed, weeding regularly and sprinkling a dry fertilizer across your plants when spring is about half over.

Your garden can be as big or as small as you want it to be. With a thorough plan, a strong foundation and constant attention, your garden will abound with beauty through spring and beyond.


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