March 20th marks the first day of spring. As such, it’s time to start thinking about your spring garden. There are several things you can do now to get it ready for planting. Following are some tips to get your garden ready to grow.

Clean up last year’s garden soil. If they’re not covered with snow, pick up any dead plants, branches, and leaves, pull weeds, and clean out any other debris that may be in your gardens. Add any waste you pick up to your compost pile.

Order seeds. Now is the best time to order seeds – the most popular seeds, plants, and new products can sell out quickly. When you order seeds, they will usually ship early in the season in order to allow enough time to start them indoors. Plants will be shipped when it’s safe to plant them outdoors based upon your zip code. You can also order from many seed companies online. Check out the Dollar Seed Sale at Park Seed.

Clean and sharpen garden tools. Now is the time to clean and sharpen any tools that might have been neglected in the fall. Clean tools with a soft rag and some mild soap, and dry thoroughly. The Family Handyman by Reader’s Digest has good advice on how to sharpen garden tools.

Start saving containers. Those empty yogurt containers and other non-recyclable plastic containers can make great pots for starting seeds or for transplanting plants. Start setting them aside now to have a good selection when you need them. You can also use empty egg shells and plant seeds inside, replacing the eggs in the empty egg carton for easy storage (shown in photo). Just crack the egg shell to remove the seedling when it’s large enough to plant (when about four leaves have sprouted and low temperatures are above freezing).

Sort chemicals.
Properly dispose of old chemicals — check with your city or county for instructions on safe disposal or recycling. Many communities offer disposal days when chemicals that aren’t picked up with the trash are accepted, usually for a nominal fee.

Plan out your garden. Sketch out the areas where you are going to plant a garden. Keep in mind what worked where last year and what you want to plant this year.

Test soil. Soil test kits are readily available at gardening and home center stores. Testing your soil can help you to decide where certain plants might thrive better, or to know if you will need to add nutrients to your soil.

Photo by: drumcpherson.com