12 gardening tips to fling into spring

Plan and pot your way to a bountiful spring and fruitful summer with our spring gardening guide.

Hooray, it’s spring! The prospect of gorgeous blooms, beautiful birdsong, a delicious summer harvest and, well… a lot of work to do.

While spring brings the promise of longer days and your favourite edibles, you’ve also got to clear the winter weeds, prepare your soil, prune, repot, transplant… Your spring checklist is never-ending! Use this spring gardening guide for the inspiration you need to work smarter – not harder.

1. Set your spring gardening goals

To avoid panic-buying seedlings on Labour Weekend, take a moment to plan. Set specific goals about what you want to achieve between now and summer and you’ll save money, time and energy. Here are some ideas:

  • If your goal is to grow more vegetables…

Consider height, shade and plant compatibility when planning your garden beds. Vertical planters or grow bags will provide you with the flexibility to move your plants around during the season.

  • If your goal is to sow seeds from scratch…

Seedling mats work wonders, but a small portable greenhouse, polytunnel or cloche to keep your seedlings warm as they germinate will keep them healthy. Keeping them tidy and organised will also make staggering a breeze.

  • If your goal is to improve the layout of your garden…

These planter boxes which feature a trellis can help to create different ‘rooms’ or pathways in your backyard. Create garden edging with native plants (they tend to be easy maintenance) or think about how you can use stepping stones to improve access and design.

2. Stake a sunny spot for yourself

While your spring garden needs all the sun it can get, you do too! Create a designated, purpose-built workstation for planning, potting and enjoying the warmer weather.

A steel bench inside your garden shed, kitted out with a pegboard for your tools will make the task of potting up seedlings easier all year round (for you and your back)! Alternatively, a shallow galvanised bucket or tubtrug on a table will catch excess soil and keep your outdoor furniture clean.

If you fancy a DIY project, spruce up an old drawer or second-hand workbench with a fresh lick of paint. Add an outdoor chair and you’ve got an alfresco office to plan, pot and ponder the spring away.

3. Give your soil a boost

The start of a new season is as good a time as any to replenish your soil, but it’s particularly important in spring.

Work in organic material like compost and rotted manure (often available onsite, just remember to use the location filter). Lay mulch around your plants too – it provides a slow-release of nutrients to the soil, smothers weeds and increases water retention.

Check out Gubba Garden for their range of Tui plant food and fertilisers. Seaweed concentrate and blood and bone are brilliant soil enhancers too.

4. Create your own tonic (for free!)

Plant food and soil amendments are essential for healthy growth, but buying everything new from the garden centre can quickly feel overwhelming – not to mention expensive! Fortunately, creating your own tonics at home can be both easy and free.

All you need is a large water barrel or wine barrel (for that cottagecore aesthetic)! Pop it outside and fill it up with recent grass clippings (or seaweed if you live near the beach). Let it collect rainwater and voila – you’ll have a nutritious concentrate for your plants that becomes more potent the longer it sits.

Top tip: Make the most of spring rainfall by grabbing a second barrel to collect plain rainwater. Leave a watering can nearby and simply dunk it into the barrel for easy watering.

5. Give your winter garden a good spring clean

There are plenty of tasks around the home and garden to catch up on after winter. With so much to do, it’s best to prioritise the important ones, like water blasting the moss and mould build-up on pathways, clearing the gutters or pruning your plants.

You might also need to clear leaves, trim the hedges or sow new grass seeds. Need some mow-tivation? Treat yourself to a new tool, like a cordless line-trimmer, stand-up weeders or secateurs. Or, give something new a try, like these aerating shoe spikes.

You’ll find everything you need onsite to make those spring gardening chores easy, fast and perhaps even fun.

6. Plant out these vegetables

Whether you’re a green-fingered guru or total newbie – the prospect of planting out edibles for spring and summer eating is arguably the most exciting ‘chore’ of the season.

Here are some of the easiest and best vegetables to plant out in spring:

Top tip: Plant out fast-growing greens like coriander, lettuce, spinach and rocket every few weeks for an extended summer harvest (and a smaller grocery bill!)

7. Establish an orchard

As well as providing you with fresh and delicious home-grown fruit, fruit trees also provide pretty flowers and summer shade. Fruit trees are dormant in winter, making early spring your last opportunity to plant or transplant these beauties for a while.

If you’re flatting, or don’t have much space to work with – have no fear. Apple, fig, nectarine, blueberry and citrus trees will grow great in pots.

8. Organise your seeds

Whether you’ve got 5 packets or 50, it’s time to give your seed collection a spring clean too. Not only will proper storage ensure seed viability, you’ll know exactly what you’ve got on hand all year round.

You can keep seeds organised in a tin, tackle box or these ziplock bags. Categorise by type, or take it to the next level and organise by ideal sowing time. After sowing, make sure you label what was what with reusable plant labels – they’re the easiest way to keep track of everything in your garden.

9. Harvest with ease

If you followed our autumn gardening guide, you might have spent winter harvesting broccoli, carrots and beetroot with our autumn harvesting favourite – a trug.

But spring’s gardening must-have is found in this small but mighty useful thumb knife. Between harvesting courgettes, pinching tomato plants and even peeling ginger – this is the garden-to-kitchen tool you didn’t know you needed.

10. Pot pretty flowers

Lift the winter veil on your garden by planting flowering annuals into vintage farm buckets, troughs and hanging baskets or in and between your edibles. Try cosmos, marigolds, nasturtiums and borage.

Not only will you bring some much-missed colour back into the garden, you’ll attract our pollen-loving friends who will bring life to your flowers and plants all season long.

11.Grow your… brain

Your mind needs food, too! Whether you prefer to watch tutorials on your tablet or get lost in a book – spring is a great time to learn something new. Here are some recommendations:

  • Monty Don fan? Treat yourself to Down to Earth, one of his most popular books filled with tips and essential knowledge
  • If you enjoy cooking as much as you enjoy gardening, grab Slow Down and Grow Something – it offers inspiration for urban gardeners and includes delicious recipes
  • For the horticulturist or botany-obsessed, this is your sign to head down a rabbit hole. Soak up everything you can on a new topic such as the no dig method, permaculture, or plant compatibility.

12. Sow sunflowers with the kids

Share your love of gardening with little ones by sowing sunflowers together.

These flowers are easy to grow and their fast growth can seem magical to kids. Plant out the seedlings in your garden when they’re 12-15cm tall, or sow them directly into pots to bring some brightness to your balcony.

Don’t forget to give your mini-me’s their own tools like these ones by Burgon and Ball – no doubt you’ll have an eager pair of hands willing to help you out with the rest of those spring gardening chores.

Watching tiny seeds transform into towering flowers and edible crops is the best part about spring. Make sure you find equally satisfying ways to tick those gardening chores off your checklist – it could be your most successful spring yet.

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