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Garden Preparation for the Growing Season

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]ith spring almost in sight, it’s time to start planning to your garden preparation for the summer growing season.  The early spring months are the best time to start sowing your seeds, nurturing your garden, and pruning and mulching, and by planning in advance, you are guaranteed to have a beautiful garden come the summer.  So what preparation do you need to do?  Keep reading to find out.

Preparation Tip 1: Prepare the Soil and Add Nutrients
Whether growing grass, seeds, or vegetables, preparing the soil is vital.  The soil you use needs to allow water to efficiently enter the ground so that it can be drawn up by the seeds and plants.  It also needs to have the right nutrients to enable the plants that do grow to be healthy.  Well maintained soil also lowers the risk of garden pests harming your plants.  To ensure your soil is in top condition, remove any large rocks, add organic matter where needed to improve the water absorption, and use a rotary hoe to turn unbroken soil into a workable form.  You should then test the soil to determine its nutrient levels and add more if required.

Preparation Tip 2: Create a Vegetable Garden
You don’t have to wait until the hot weather to start growing vegetables, and there are a number of veggies that are perfect for planting during the spring.  To start, consider where you will be placing your vegetable garden, and consider using a turf cutter to remove the lawn if required. You will want to plant in an area that sees at least 7-8 hours of sun daily. The next step is to choose your vegetables.  Spinach, lettuce, kale, radishes, broccoli, and peas are all ideal for planting during the spring, though the seeds that you buy will provide you with the ideal sow dates.  It’s a bad idea to plant your seeds in frosty ground, so you can either wait until the last frost is over, or start planting inside.  When the summer comes around, you’ll have some great veggies that will taste as good as they look.

Preparation Tip 3: Make It Easy to Water with Built In Irrigation
Because the winter in Queensland is very dry, you might want to consider installing a built in irrigation system to ensure your plants receive the water that they need.  To do this, use an irrigation trencher to trench through a garden bed or through your lawn, and then install a drip irrigation system.  Once installed, your system will transport water slowly and steadily directly to your plants’ roots.  This will ensure your plants receive the water that they need to grow strong and healthy.  An irrigation system can be configured to the needs of the plants and can also help to conserve water.

Preparation Tip 4: Prune and Mulch Existing Vegetation
In addition to planting new seeds ready for the summer, you’ll also want to do some maintenance work on your garden.  Start by pruning back any dead or damaged branches, and any dead perennial foliage from last season.  You should also prune your fruit trees well in advance of the buds appearing to reduce stress on the tree and encourage it to give a large harvest.  Next, you’ll want to remove any weeds in your lawn, and in your flower beds – they’re easiest to remove during the spring.  Use a 50mm wood chipper or a 100mm wood chipper (depending on preference) to turn any old branches or tree cuttings into wood chippings, and then use these as mulch on any areas where you have removed weeds; this will prevent them from growing back.  Finally, add some mulch to your garden beds and around the trunk of any fruit trees to protect them from pests and rot.

Although you may still be in ‘winter mode’, it’ll soon be time to prepare your garden.  So print out this list and keep it handy – you’ll thank us for it when the summer comes and you have a beautiful garden.

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