Is spring finally here? It feels like it’s been a long winter, but it is pouring rain outside today and I finally feel like there is an end in sight. With the turn of the seasons comes a host of spring garden tasks. Including mulching spring plants, starting spring vegetables, pruning spring fruits and picking spring flowers. So, here is my list of 15 Super Easy Tasks for your Spring Garden Checklist.
Let’s jump straight into our overview of Spring Garden Tasks
Here in Canada, we face long winters and even though keeping large gardens can be a ton of effort, after a long winter I am so excited to get outside and get to work. Some of our usual Spring garden tasks include:
- Dividing fall-blooming perennials
- Sowing spring vegetables indoors or under cover outside
- Pruning fruit trees and berry bushes
- Munching spring-blooming plants with organic compost
I will go into further detail on all of these tasks below and provide some links to further reading for you.
Tend to Perennials and Spring Plants
1: Uncover Early Spring Plants
Once the risk of a hard frost has passed uncover early spring plants such as columbine, French sorrel, tulips and hardy herbs to allow the sun to warm them.
2: Tidy up Garden Beds
Cut back any dead plant stocks and carefully rake away fallen leaves to allow the sun to warm the garden. Be careful not to rake away your mulch, it will help hold the spring moisture in and keep the soil moist during hotter weather.
I use a hand sickle or rice knife like this one to cut back perennials and ornamental grasses:
3: Divide or Split Overgrown Perennials
Once your spring plants are up and showing signs of healthy growth, it’s time to divide any overgrown or crowded summer or fall blooming plants like daylily, aster, and echinacea. You can do this by cutting the plant in half with a sharp spade or with a soil knife. Now, not all plants can be divided as easily as daylily, yarrow and similar perennials so take a sec to research first. I will be writing more on dividing and propagation in the coming months so stay tuned.
4: Mulch Spring Plants with Compost
After tiding up your garden beds, add organic compost around your spring plants, making sure not to smother the base of the plant. A good rule of thumb is to sprinkle 1 inch of compost in a ring around the plant, then gently work it into the top inch of mulch with your fingers.
Get a jump on the Season by Starting Spring Vegetables
5: Buy Seeds Online or at Your Local Nursery
If you are as lucky as I am to live in an agricultural centered community, then hit up your local seed swap to get locally adapted seed and plants. Gasp, maybe seed swaps aren’t a thing in your area, head to your local nursery for organic seeds or order online from your favorite seed companies. Bonus, if you have never bought seeds via mail order before, see this epic list of providers and testimonials in this seed article written by Mary Jane at Home For The Harvest.
6: Start Seedlings Indoors
If its still cold outside start seeds indoors under lights. Fancy grow lights can be expensive, but I have gotten by for years using only regular fluorescent lights. They work fine to get my seeds started but I know they won’t be sufficient for larger plants. I intend to invest in some serious grow lights someday, but until then my T-8 Fluorescents will work just fine. See my Tips on Starting Seeds here.
My secret weapon for starting seeds:
7: Sow Hardy Spring Vegetables Outside Under Cover
If your days are warm enough, sow cool weather crops outdoors. I suggest doing so under the cover of low-tunnel or in a cold-frame just in case a late frost is in the forecast. Some of my favorite spring vegetables include peas, spinach, kale and Asian greens. See my Cold Season Gardening article here
Tend to Spring Fruits and Flowering Trees
8: Prune Fruit Trees and Spring Fruits
I think the first garden task we do every year is spring pruning, it’s the first indicator that spring is around the corner and the end of winter is in sight. Prune fruiting trees or shrubs to remove dead wood and overgrown or unhealthy branches. Work from the top down, and be sure to step back and evaluate your work as you go. Never remove more than 1/3 of the overall tree size in the same year, doing so may cause the tree stress leaving it susceptible to insects and disease.
These are the pruners I use almost every day:
9: Clean Your Pruning Gear
Always use clean, sterilized tools when pruning trees and shrubs, and be sure to sterilize them when moving from one tree to another. I like to carry a small tub or jar of warm water with a tbsp of bleach in it, I dip my pruners in the solution and wipe them dry before I move onto my next tree. I don’t tend to use bleach often but it just gives me the security to know that I am not potentially spreading disease from tree to tree.
Dull pruners? I keep this little sharpener in my pouch to keep my snips sharp:
10: Divide Overgrown Spring Fruits
Thin or divide small spring fruits such as strawberry and raspberry. Like dividing spring plants, only split or thin your spring fruits after they have had time to establish for the year. I like to divide my small spring fruits in early May. Raspberries can be cut back and divided with a sharp spade. Strawberries can be thinned by hand by pulling runners up by the crown, if your soil is compacted, then use a hand spade for this job and cut the runner lines with sharp clean scissors.
11: Feed the Soil to Feed the Plants
After tending to your spring fruits be sure to mulch around the soil with organic compost, I also like to add quick bump of organic, liquid fish emulsion. Fish emulsion adds a quick spike of nutrients to the soil while the compost is a slower source of food for the plants and soil bacteria. Be warned most fish emulsion is stinky stuff and a little goes a long way. Follow the dilution rates provided by the manufacturer and apply around dusk, so the smell can dissipate overnight. – trust me-
Fish Emulsion is available at most garden centers, or buy it here, this way you don’t have to get out of your pajamas 😉
Don’t forget to enjoy the Spring Flowers
12: Force Flowering Branches to Bloom Indoors
Force fruit blossoms and flowering shrubs like forsythia to bloom indoors by taking cuttings just as the buds are beginning to form. Bring the cuttings inside and arrange in a vase of cold water. Display in a sunny place and add fresh water every 3-4 days.
13: Pick Spring Flowers to Enjoy Indoors
Pick spring flowers such as tulips and daffodils to display inside. Cut your spring flowers just before they open and keep them in a vase of fresh cool water. Why not combine spring flowers with flowering shrubs for a striking arrangement? For more on arranging garden bouquets see my article here.
14: Wildcraft Violets to Use in The Kitchen
Harvest wild violet for use in herbal preparations or as a garnish on sweet treats. Wood violet, pansy, and Johnny-jump-ups are all varieties of violets which are not only adorable but also edible. Use these edible spring flowers to decorate cakes or cookies for an adorable vintage look.
15: Save some Spring Flowers for the Bees
But before we bring all these lovely spring flowers indoors, be sure to leave some for the bees. Bees are becoming seriously threatened by the use of pesticides on big-ag farms, city properties and in backyard gardens. So, keep your garden organic and be sure to leave some spring flowers for the bees to enjoy too. 🙂
Ok so, let’s recap Our Super Easy Spring Garden Tasks:
- Uncover Early Spring Plants
- Tidy up Garden Beds
- Divide or Split Overgrown Perennials
- Mulch Spring Plants with Compost
- Buy Seeds Online or at Your Local Nursery
- Start Seedlings Indoors
- Sow Hardy Spring Vegetables Outside Under Cover
- Prune Fruit Trees and Spring Fruits
- Clean Your Pruning Gear
- Divide Overgrown Spring Fruits
- Feed the Soil to Feed the Plants
- Force Flowering Branches to Bloom Indoors
- Pick Spring Flowers to Enjoy Indoors
- Wildcraft Violets to Use in The Kitchen
- Save some Spring Flowers for the Bees
That’s it for now, be sure to check out my other gardening articles for more info on these and other organic gardening topics.
Thanks for hanging out,