April may be volatile, but the warmer temperatures and suddenly clear blue skies are welcome respites from winter. By the start of the month, I’m getting a bit itchy to be outside in the garden. On the first sunny day of a stretch of warm days, I pull on my gloves and start on my spring gardening checklist.
This year, I’m trying to do a little bit each afternoon when the afternoon allows, rather than having several weekends crammed with activity. I’ve found that I don’t feel overwhelmed by the never-ending list of little things to be done when I spread it out. Here’s what is on my spring gardening checklist. Most of the activities are prep and maintenance, with a little bit of planting after the last freeze has occurred.
Spring Gardening Checklist
- Feed the plants – I use a combination of compost and fertilizers and apply it to each plant as needed. I use specialty fertilizers for edible plants and roses, and stick with good old Miracle Grow for flowers and containers. BBC has a fantastic guide on fertilizing plants that will provide a more detail.
- Kill the slugs – These little pests are the bane of my existence here in Ireland. It’s breeding time right now, so the battle to protect my plants has started. The commonly available slug killer pellets are highly toxic to dogs, so I only use those in containers that Larry can’t easily access. For the rest of the garden, I use glass jars buried to their necks filled with beer. It’s not an easy solution, but it’s the best one I have. It requires regular emptying, something that I always forget to do until the jars are filled up with one of the nastiest combinations of dead slugs, beer, and rain possible. My goal is to empty these weekly.
- Weed – Staying on top of weeds now will prevent more from forming. A bonus: with the soil really wet from rain, small weeds are easier to remove and only takes about 20 minutes to complete. However, the front driveway and back patio are a different matter. Weeds seem to sprout in the cracks every two days. I hate using weed killer, so each has to be pulled up individually.
- Add mulch and soil – I haven’t been a fan of mulch in the past, but with a dog who loves to tramp through my gardens and use plants as toilets, I’m trying to corral him into a lightly planted area. I’m adding mulch to it in the hopes that it will be more attractive to Larry and create a ground cover to prevent weeds. I also add potting soil and compost as needed and turn it in to help add nutrients to the soil.
- Plant containers – I’m saving the best for last! I love love love container gardening, and can’t wait to try ideas I’ve been gathering on my outdoor + garden board on Pinterest over the winter. After seeing the “thriller, filler, spiller” image about three thousand times, I’m using it as the basis for each containers. I’d like to use more grasses as thriller plants, which is a new obsession of mine.
I hope this list helps you! Here are a few great resources for creating your own checklist for spring gardening:
What’s on your spring gardening checklist?