You may not think there’s much to do in the garden at this time of the year, but there is. The preparations you do now will pay off in the form of a healthier garden with less work during the growing season. Here’s some things you can do to get ready (besides starting seeds!).
WORK ON YOUR HARDSCAPE & STRUCTURES
This is a great time of year to work on your hardscape elements such as repairing raised beds, building rock walls, putting up trellises, etc. Typically, garden structures need a little repair and sprucing up at the end of the growing season. Use the time now so you have more time during the growing season to focus on plants and planting, or, the fun part of gardening.
ORGANIZE AND CLEAN YOUR TOOLS
Good garden tools are expensive, but worth the cost if you take care of them. If you haven’t done so already, get them out and clean them up. Apply linseed oil to the metal on your non stainless steel tools. After you clean them up, organize them so you can find them when you need them.
It’s also a good time to do some transplanting of perennials, if the ground is not frozen. Perennials are in their dormant state right now, so it is safe to transplant them at this time. Doing it now will insure better root development by the time spring rolls around. Add some compost into the soil mix going into the new planting holes. I like to mix it 50/50 (50% soil/50% compost). You can also plant any last minute flower bulbs that didn’t make it in the ground last fall. Yes, they’ll still grow but do need a period of cold, so don’t wait too much longer.
LAYOUT ANY NEW GARDEN PROJECTS
Plan new beds and pathways now. Decide what, where, and when you’re going to plant your new seedlings and seeds. The 2016 seed varieties are now available so start gathering your seeds after you’ve made that plan. Try something new this year!
Start gathering mulch from winter tree trimmings if you can, because you’re going to need it in the summer months.
Here’s a great garden app you can use to do your plan with at https://www.growveg.com
How’s your compost pile? Now’s a good time to add some aged compost to your garden beds. Plantings from last season used up a lot of the nutrients in the soil. You need to replenish those, and good compost is the best, most natural way to do that. If you need to accelerate your compost pile breakdown try adding some EM1 Bokashi.
- Check fruit trees and shrubs for damage and dead branches that need pruning off
- Fertilize fruit trees and shrubs
- Tip prune blackberries and raspberries
- Sharpen and clean hand tools
The garden season is just around the corner. Start now to prepare for it. We have plenty of experts available here at Fifth Season Gardening if you need advice on getting ready for the upcoming growing season.
HELPFUL EVENTS COMING UP
Seed Saving Class class by our friends at Sow True Seed – February 18th at our Asheville Market store
Organic Growers School Spring Conference – March 12 & 13th at UNCA campus