Updated: Jul 19
Spring is in the air, the weather is warmer. Soon the frost will pass and we can go back to digging in our gardens in earnest! Before that happens, though, set your plants up for success in the new season with some spring container planting prep.
While you do that, here are some mistakes to avoid - and what you should do instead:
1. Not turning the soil over
Container soil leeches off nutrients after countless cycles of watering and drying out.
Before planting for spring, turn your old soil over in their containers. Loosen up the soil, remove stones, root matter, and other debris. You can pass the soil through a sieve to ensure an even consistency.
● This prevents the soil from carrying over plant pests that may have been burrowing in the soil.
● You can better repair the soil with fertilizer and additives when it's loose and breathable.
● The soil is better aerated to support root development.
2. Not adding fertilizer/plant food to soil
Many gardeners insist that their plants will do well without fertilizer, but at BGGC we are all about soil health. Healthy soil is loose, rich, and can hold moisture and nutrients.
You can add fertilizer to your soil with store-bought plant food. For a more long-term application, bury kitchen waste in composting soil. Make sure that you give the organic matter time to break down before using the soil.
This enriches your soil ahead of planting to give your plants a boost.
3. Using untreated soil
This mistake especially applies to newbie gardeners who may not have the resources to invest in gardening supplies.
Investing in good potting soil should be a priority for anyone with a limited budget.
It is best to buy your soil from a gardener/garden center that sells heat sterilized gardening soil.
Sterilization kills the larvae and eggs of plant pests to prevent future infestations.
4. Overlooking your USDA zone/time of the first frost
The first rule of gardening is to work with your environment. Unless you have a fancy greenhouse setup you can keep warm year-round, plan your planting time around the seasons in your region.
It's ideal to start seedlings 4-6 weeks before the first frost, usually from late March to late May.
You can consult your local farmers’ almanac or ask other experienced gardeners to know your time of the first frost. This will guide you as you choose how you want to start your garden.
5. Not trimming back annuals
Many container plants (like sweet potatoes) can last year-round and overwinter well. During the winter period, they rather go into a time of low or no activity.
As spring arrives, your annual plants will be coming out of dormancy. That's the perfect time to trim them back to encourage new growth.
Making these mistakes will compromise the health of your next set of container plants.
Now that you know what NOT to do, here's 10 things you can do in your garden in March and April.