How To Get A Head Start On The Garden When It Is Still Cold
Time is dragging on as we wait for the last of the cold weather to work its way out so we can enjoy the wonderful spring weather in the garden. Sadly for many of us, this can take a while.
The good news is that there are some things you can do to get a head start on your garden when it is still cold out.
Warm garden beds
Warming up your garden beds before the weather turns warm is a great way to get ahead of schedule. A frozen over garden bed is impossible to work with and if the soil is too cold when you are ready to plant your plants are more likely to die off from shock.
The best thing you can do to fight these issues is to take the time to warm your garden beds up. You can do this by adding tunnels or simply covering your beds with plastic sheeting. You can easily staple black plastic to your raised garden beds to encourage the sun to heat your garden beds up naturally before you are ready to plant. Then simply remove this sheeting and get to work.
Prepare garden beds
Preparing your garden beds including cleaning them out, tilling in compost, and even building new garden beds are great activities to work on while you wait for it to warm up enough to put your garden in. Preparing current garden beds can be done as soon as the ground thaws.
Adding in new garden beds can be done at different points. In-ground garden beds need the soil to thaw out before it can be torn up and tilled.
Adding in raised garden beds can be done all winter while you wait for the weather to warm up. You can even take the time to do the construction of new garden beds in your garage to stay warm while you work.
Plant onions and garlic
Onions and garlic can be planted long before the last frost. As soon as the soil is workable you can start digging and planting these bulbs. In fact, the cold actually helps them get started making this the ideal time to start planting your onions and garlic.
Garlic can even be planted in the fall or early winter as long as the soil is still able to be worked with. Garlic tends to struggle if started too late in the spring when it does not get enough time in the cold.
If you are worried that you are starting too late due to the ground being frozen you can start your garlic off on the right foot by placing it in your refrigerator.
Start seeds indoors
Starting seeds indoors allows you to get a head start on the gardening season. Your live plants can be moved to the garden after the last frost when it starts to warm up enough for them to thrive.
Starting seeds indoors is a frugal way to get live plants for your garden compared to the cost of buying them at the local nursery.
You can save money on your garden by using upcycled materials from around your home as seed starters. From toilet paper rolls to yogurt cups most homes have plenty of amazing options for starting seeds indoors.
Place your seedlings in a warm sunny spot to help them get off to a great start. You can harden your plants off outside for a few hours a day as soon as your days start to hover over 60 degrees.
Planning your garden
Planning your garden is a great way to spend those last few weeks while you wait for gardening season to begin. You can take the time to plan your garden including making a map showing where everything will go in your garden bed. This is a great way to plan ahead to take advantage of the many benefits of companion planting and square foot gardening.
Try using graph paper to make it easy to plan your garden and make notes of things you will need when it is time to plant. Measure out your garden beds and then use graph paper to draw your beds out before labeling.
If you prefer there are several great options for apps that can help you plan your garden and get gardening tips for the plants you are growing.
Learn about the plants you are going to grow
Spending this time getting to know any new plants you will be growing for the first time is a great way to get ahead start on the gardening season.
The biggest reason people fail at their gardens besides forgetfulness is simply not knowing how to take care of the needs of their plants and missing out on providing something they need. This is a great way to get a head-on your garden and help to set yourself up for success.
Build garden accents
Adding things to your gardens like hummingbird feeders, bug houses, and water features is a great way to help attract the predators and pollinators your garden needs to thrive.
Building these garden accents is a great way to spend your time while you wait for gardening season to start.
Put together a drip irrigation system
If you are looking to make gardening easier you can spend your time while you wait for gardening season to start installing a simple drip irrigation system in your garden beds.
This is a wonderful and simple project that is cost-effective and can help you improve the yield of your garden while making your life easier later. It is best to set these up after tilling but before you plant and mulch your garden beds.
Dive into your gardening season with some adjustments
There are some things you can do to allow you to start gardening right in your garden early including using cold frames, installing hoops to cover your garden beds, and even adding heating elements to your garden beds to warm them up faster.
While these can be a bit of an investment you can use them to extend the gardening season in the fall as well.