10 spring gardening jobs to do right now
As I write this the rain is pouring down (feels like it hasn’t stopped in days!) and it’s cold. Thinking about getting out in the garden is not even appearing on the outermost edges of my radar. Given the conversations I have been having with customers in the shop recently, you most likely feel the same.
But here’s the thing, getting out in the garden now ensures we can steal a march on our plot and guarantee it’s in tip top condition before the main growing season kicks off. There’s another reason to get out though, fresh air, nature, soil under your fingernails, tidying, nurturing, planning, imagining, they all do wonders to beat the winter blues. Just 20 minutes of garden pottering can entirely transform the way you feel.
To make it super easy to step out the door here’s a list of 10 spring gardening jobs you can do right now.
- Tidy up autumn leaves
A little trick I have learnt is that on a cold day the first job you do in the garden needs to be physical, something that gets the blood pumping and your body warm. So, grab a rake, get into your borders and remove all the fallen autumn leaves. Leaves can cause plant crowns to rot and smoother spring bulbs so pay particular attention to these areas.
If you are a container gardener, your pots are probably covered in a carpet of leaves, so glove up, dive in and get them cleared.
Don’t waste the leaves, pop them into bags and turn them into leaf mould to use as a soil improver next year.
- Cut back perennial plants
There will be lots of brown, soggy rather sorry looking plants in your pots and borders by now, but under the surface of the soil they are getting ready to burst into life as soon as the temperatures start to rise. Cut back all the old top growth now so they have plenty of light. Air and space to get growing.
- Remove any weeds
Weeds always seem to start growing early and so you will see them popping up in pots and borders now. Without the abundance of summer growth, they are easy to spot though so grab them now and remove them before they reach the rampant uncontrollable stage.
- Improve your soil
Healthy, pest free, beautiful plants are a result of healthy soil. Improve your soil and your plants will thrive. Use compost, rotted manure, mushroom compost even old used compost from last year’s pots and grow bags to create a 5cm thick layer across your borders and containers. The mulch provides nourishment to tired soil but don’t worry there’s no need to dig it in. In addition to feeding your soil mulching also helps improve draining and air pockets (essential for growth) if you let the worms do the hard graft and munch their way through it drawing it down into the soil creating a maze of tunnels.
- Add instant colour
If things are looking a little monotone there are plenty of flowering plants and bulbs available in the Plant Shop now. Try hellebores, primroses, cowslips, crocus, daffodils, tulips, anemones. These plants are all suitable for borders and containers and are all perennial so will reward you with spring colour year after year with very little care required.
- Plan for summer wow factor
Now is the perfect time to choose and plant summer bulbs, we’re talking plants like dahlias, gladioli, ranunculus, lilies, iris, calla lilies. These are the kind of plants that add serious impact and wow factor to pots and borders. The kind of plants that gets your neighbours looking jealously over the fence. Buying the bulbs now means shops have plentiful stock and choice, so you can pick exactly what you want.
- Look after our birds
We can all do our bit to support, promote and boost Nottingham and UK bird populations by turning our gardens, allotments, yards and balconies into bird safe nesting and feeding zones. February 14th, Valentines Day, marks the start of the mating season for birds, so right now the new bird couples are out searching for their perfect home. Pop up a nest box, a feed station and water bath and sit back to watch who moves in. Not only will the birds give you hours of watching pleasure they will help you in the garden as a natural pest control eating up all the aphids and bugs.
- Plant for pollinators
Pick up wildflower plug plants in the Plant Shop right now and create your own wildflower meadow in either a container or border. Just a small patch of meadow makes a huge difference to our flying friends. Just imagine if every garden in Nottingham had a patch, together we would have a huge meadow and make a mega difference.
- Grow your own
You can start growing more hardy vegetables right now. Try beetroot, onions, asparagus, shallots, potatoes, spinach, kale, lettuce, peas, broad beans. If you’re growing from seed start them off under cover on a windowsill or get a head start by buying plug plants grown by our expert Nursery team. Nothing beats the joy of eating vegetables you have grown yourself. No chemicals, no food miles and the most incredible taste!
- Enjoy it
Grab a cup of tea and take time to sit and enjoy your garden. So often gardening becomes all about work and doing and falling behind and catching up. So here’s a little reminder that gardening is about wellbeing, health, calmness, beauty and pleasure. Take time to pause and enjoy it.
I hope we’ve inspired you to get out in your garden and look forward to seeing you in the Plant Shop very soon. All our staff are enthusiastic, experienced gardeners and like nothing more then sharing their passion and knowledge so make their day and come in for a chat.