I don’t know about you but I’m a little fed up of the cold weather now. I’m already excitedly looking forward to the Spring and Summer. I want to spend more time in the garden this year but it’s an absolute tip after the wet Winter we’ve had. With March literally just around the corner I’ve decided that it’s the perfect time to start thinking about preparing my garden for the summer. Maybe this year I can start to work on the ‘Plant It, Grow It, Eat It’ challenge and grow a selection of vegetables. A little work here and there can spell a big difference between a blooming garden and patchy grass with dry beds, and the best part is – you don’t need to break the bank to grow a beautiful garden in your own backyard.
With a bit of resourcefulness and effort, here are five easy and thrifty tips to start preparing your garden for the summer ahead.
Plan your plants
It’s important to plan what types of plants you’d like to have in your summer garden, since smart choices can help you conserve water and labor energy. Herbs like rosemary, sage, thyme, and chives are great for summer because they do well under the sun without much rain, and are particularly useful in the kitchen as well.
The Guardian recommends investing in perennials as they grow fast and represent the best value for money in a year-round garden. Consider buying seeds from online vendors that sell packets for as low as 50p. These stores offer a wide variety of plants with results that are immensely satisfying in the long run.
Prep your tools
Having decided on your plants, it’s time to prepare the tools you’ll need and the supplies you’ll use up in the gardening process.
Inspect old shovels, hoes, and rakes that have been sleeping in your garden shed all winter for cracked handles or rusted metal parts. Sand the handles down and rub them with linseed oil. For easier shovelling, spray on a coat of silicone or Teflon lubricant on your favourite garden shovel to make soil slip right off after use. (To be honest, I think I could do with investing in some new garden tools.)
As for your machine tools, consider investing in a good lawn mower to make trimming a breeze (a necessity!). The electric and manual lawnmowers on Screwfix show the extensive features of these machines like common cutting specs, and they come in a wide range of prices that will suit any budget. The more you shop around, the greater chance you will find value for money and the exact lawnmower that suits your own specific garden’s requirements. The bigger your garden and lawn, the larger your mower should be for optimum use. Larger lawnmowers also have bigger collection boxes to lessen the need to stop and empty the grass.
Weeding and de-mossing
To give your plants a fighting chance in your garden this summer, the next thing to do is to get rid of their natural bullies – moss and weeds.
Spring is a perfect time to clear your garden of moss, which thrives in wet, shaded conditions of winter. The Gardener’s Journal goes through some of the most common causes of moss growth, such as natural basins, too much shade, and weakened grass. Removing moss involves a process called “scarification”, which might sound intimidating but can be done by simply raking through the affected area vigorously to remove the moss.
As for weed infestations, these love the long sunny days of summer so late spring is an important time to prevent their growth. Take advantage of the English weather and pull weeds by hand whenever the soil is damp after rain, since doing so is easier and much more effective than attempting to weed under the sun.
Till and mulch
Tilling and mulching are two of the most important things you can do to ensure your plants grow strong and healthy. Tilling the soil aerates the bed to help promote growth, and is a good way to introduce nutrient-rich compost to your garden and control weed growth.
On the other hand, The Spruce explains that mulching will keep the soil cool and moist in the hot summer months, so you’ll have less need for weeding and watering in the future. Mulching with grass clippings from your lawnmower, newspaper, shredded leaves, straw, and weathered sawdust is especially beneficial to newly planted items and root crops like potatoes.
Make your own compost
Last but not least, start your own compost pile to improve the soil in your garden and minimise waste for free. The BBC reports that common household waste like grass cuttings, fruit and vegetable scraps, tea bags and coffee grounds are nitrogen-rich material that will do wonders for the health of your plants. Combine these with carbon-rich material like newspaper, straw, and cardboard in your compost bin and you’re good to start composting.
If you like these tips, why not Pin them to Pinterest using the image above! 😀