Getting your garden ready for spring

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woman-gardeningThe recent weather has made me want to pull on my wellies and get planting in the garden.

Unfortunately with clay soil and the occasional ground frost there’s not an awful lot I can do for the next six weeks or so.

I’ve planted broad beans and potatoes, but not much else.

There’s no excuse though as there are plenty of the ‘less exciting’ maintenance jobs to be done. Here’s what we’ve been up to.

Rain barrels

According to the Environment Agency, parts of the UK are already experiencing drought.

We’ve got 4 rain barrels here at Chez Green but I’m ashamed to say one of them has had a broken tap for a long time.

Throughout the winter, any rain we have had has simply flowed out onto the ground; not exactly water conservation is it?

This week Mr Green found an old tap, stuck his brave head into the stagnant smelling barrel and fixed it.

Now all we need is rain!

Patio Furniture

We found one plastic garden chair with a missing leg which has now been fixed but I’ve noticed that our patio furniture is looking less than perfect.

Some of it I wouldn’t dare offer anyone to actually sit on!

Fortunately it’s simple to clean your garden table and chairs without resorting to nasty chemicals like bleach.

I find washing soda (1/2 cup dissolved in a gallon of hot water) along with some elbow grease does the trick on plastic, while salt water helps keep wicker looking its best. If you’re lucky enough to have wooden furniture, Danish Oil is a great product that actually feeds the wood.

Weeding

The weeds are starting to come up and now is the time to catch them.

We have a lot of ‘weeds’ here such as horsetail, nettles, docks and couch grass. I put the word weeds into inverted commas because it’s worth remembering that a weed is only a plant in the wrong place.

We can find good use for all of our ‘weeds’. Horsetail is used to make fertiliser and anti fungal spray, nettles are eaten and docks are fed to the rabbit. We now have chickens so they’ll happily peck at the couch grass.

Spending just ten minutes a day pulling up weeds as they show through the soil, means you don’t have to resort to toxic chemicals later in the year.

What about you? What have you been doing to get your garden ready for spring?

4 Comments

  1. Small Footprints on April 5, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    I love spring and I’m always so anxious to start planting. But, like you, we’ve got some freezing temperatures in our forecast so … patience. I’m a container gardener (on my patio) so during the winter, all of my larger containers turn into compost bins. I’ve added worms to the bins … just the worms that seem to crawl up on my patio when it rains. They have thrived with all the veggie scraps which they’ve had to eat all winter … thrived and reproduced. So, my bins are now full of rich, dark compost … and lots of worms. At this time of year, I begin to sort the worms out of the bins and mix the compost into the soil I have … all ready for planting. This year I’m going to release some worms back into the “wild”. And soon … lovely seeds will make their way to their summer homes. 🙂



  2. [email protected] eco friendly homemaking on April 6, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    Oh great tips!! I so agree about pulling the weeds up when you see them. That way they don’t get out of control. I really want us to get some rain barrels and I think it is awesome that you have four of them!! We have tilled our gardens but we are having cooler temps so we are waiting a little longer before we plant our veggies and herbs.I have been putting off cleaning our patio furniture but really need to get it done!



  3. Amanda on April 8, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    Oh I love gardening in spring, great tips!



  4. Mrs Green on April 11, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    @Small Footprints: Oh I love how your containers are already filled with beautiful compost – what a fantastic ‘law of least effort’ idea!

    @[email protected] eco friendly homemaking: Good luck with all your jobs Alicia 🙂



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