How to prepare for planting

Once all the snow has liquefied and the ground has unfrozen, it’s time to get ready for planting season! The days are longer and the temperature is warmer so it’s time to get to the first of the garden work!Prior to planting your plant, whether it be a potted plant or a bare root plant, always try and improve the soil in some way prior to planting.This can be achieved by digging and adding soil conditioner, such as compost, and on heavier soils, grit or sand. Preparing your plant garden will take a little time and energy, but will make planting day so much easier and the crop more successful!

The first thing you have to do is clean out the garden. Remove any dead plants from the previous gardening year. Some plants and roots will have totally rotten and you can leave those to enrich the soil. If there are any obvious stems, leaves or roots from your plants you’ll need to get rid of those from the garden. It’s also important to be certain you have taken up all stakes and fences from your garden.

Once your garden is clean you are going to need to start ploughing. A motorized tiller works the best to loosen up the soil and mix the roots up. As you are plowing you’ll want to take any large clumps of soil and separate them. If you have sufficient time you might need to till the entire garden 2-3 times. That is not mandatory but will split the soil more and make the garden bed a little softer.

After plowing, you’ll want to apply your fertilizer. Fertilizing can be done prior to ploughing also. The tiller will mix the manure deep into the soil, so you are going to need to watch how much you apply and be sure to have a good mix of soil and fertilizer.

Allow the fertilizer to settle for 1 or 2 days and then apply a pleasant covering of water. By moistening the soil, the fertilizer will break down and the seeds will have a pleasant level of moisture in the soil. When soaking the garden you may also wish to take special attention to any low or high-lying areas.

After the water has been soaked up you will want to go in and level the garden. This is going to help in the growing season to prevent any areas that become too damp and the water will sit there, as well as high areas that won’t receive enough moisture. If you garden is on a slope, you might need to think about building up the low side so all the water doesn’t run down and off the high side of the garden. If you would like you can from simple terraces to make for more flattened ground.

Mulching is an ideal way to finish off a planting job, providing a clean finish to the planting surface as well as protecting and feeding establishing plants. Yet mulch remains a mystery to many less experienced gardeners, so best start with a definition.

A mulch is a shallow protective layer spread over the soil surface – usually to a depth of 7 to 10cm – to help protect and feed the establishing plant. Ideally a well rooted clean compost such as leaf mold and garden compost or mushroom compost is best for flowering perennial plants and annuals, however shrubs and trees are often mulched with bark chip, which is less nutritious but far better at suppressing weeds and locking in soil moisture.


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