It’s happened again! In spite of all the crazy weather ups and downs of winter 2020, we’ve made it to the home stretch and spring is finally right around the corner. The daffodils are popping up all over, and we’re all starting to feel that itch to dig our fingers deep into the red Virginia clay. I know I can practically taste those juicy, ripe tomatoes– how about you?
Well, that’s getting a bit ahead of ourselves… Tomatoes are still a ways away and technically in zone 7 here in Lynchburg, we could still get a frost as late as the first week of April. But never fear! There are still plenty of outdoor chores that need to be done in order to prepare for peak gardening season.
1) Plan Ahead:
Every good gardening season starts with dreaming and drooling over seed catalogs and sites, right? Here are a few you can check out online, or order a print copy to start planning your perfect 2020 garden:
Southern Exposure: a small seed exchange company that prioritizes varieties that thrive in the Southeast.
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds: a company that specializes in hard to find heirloom seeds and plants.
Burpee: this gardening icon has been heralding the imminent arrival of Spring by showing up in mailboxes all over America since 1881. You can sign up on their mailing list to get your copy!
2) Start Seeds Indoors:
Do you like the thought of watching tenderly over tiny, baby plants as they get a head start under a grow lamp in your back room or garage? It can be a fun way to get a jumpstart on spring, but be careful! Not all seeds are suitable for starting indoors. Here’s a list of hearty transplanters, from farmanddairy.com:
3) Clean up:
As soon as the soil has dried out a little bit, you can start the clean up needed to prepare for the new growing season at hand. Any foliage from last fall’s annuals needs to be pulled up and composted. Perennials may need to be cut back, pruned, or shaped–depending on the variety. Look for and remove any early weeds that would compete with young seedlings. Re-mulch areas around mature plantings to avoid giving the weeds a head start. And don’t forget the tools and storage! Sharpen, clean, repair, replace, and organize so everything will be functional and conveniently at hand when you need it.
4) Prep your soil:
Now is also a great time to have a soil test done! Once you receive the results, you can research and prepare the correct fertilizers and additives needed to optimize your soil environment for the plants you want to grow. Virginia Tech offers routine soil testing services to state residents for only $10. Find information here to obtain your own testing kit and instructions.
Any other important gardening prep tips we’ve missed? Let us know what your early spring routines are! And have a fantastic 2020 Gardening Season!