Speaking of blooming flowers, we are particularly excited about the beautiful blooms that will start emerging all over Fort Collins soil. But most plants don’t do so without assistance! Most of these flowers — unless we’re talking about those of the wild variety — burst from the soil with such beauty and grace due to the caring hands of gardeners. Most have been planted, watered, freed of weeds, and trimmed — and we think the end result is well worth the pain.
If you’re dreading said spring gardening “pain” this season — have no fear! We are here to help ease the process just a bit.
If you’re a seasoned gardener, these tips might just give you a few pointers for improving your annual routine. And if you can barely keep a succulent alive, these may help lay a foundation for how you might master gardening this spring.
The best starting point for preparing your garden for spring is to fully survey the area. There were definitely some instances of harsh weather in Fort Collins during this winter season, so there may be some debris on the ground, possibly a damaged fence, and some outdoor furniture that might need a little cleaning.
So take a look at what you’re working with and take a day (or more!) to prepare your garden for the restoration it’s about to go through. This may seem like an unnecessary step and you may be eager to get to the fun stuff, but it’s important to start with a clean slate when gardening!
While your flower beds may be bare and your soil may need a little tender loving care, it’s likely that you still have grass to work with. However, it’s also likely that it may be a bit neglected, when it comes to mowing and watering. The benefit of the ever present Colorado sunshine is the warmth and cheerfulness it supplies, but it often leads to some dry grass if we’re not careful.
So continue that clean-up process into your grass area, raking any debris out of the area and starting with a clean surface. This is also a wonderful opportunity to think about the health of your grass. You should consider what local lawn services you might hire, or set up a regular mowing schedule that you’ll adhere to if you have your own lawnmower. If you’d rather hire someone else to do the dirty work, consider calling Actually Green Landscape and Lawn Care to help you out.
So you did a general overview clean up of your backyard area, but it’s time to get more detailed with your efforts. It’s likely that several weeds have sprung up over the last few months, so be sure to remove those to protect future plants from having a lesser chance of survival once planted. Why invest in a bunch of new foliage only to have it eaten alive by these stubborn weeds?
One of the most important things to remember when removing weeds is to make sure to remove them all the way down to their roots. If you fail to do so, they will simply grow right back and continue destructing your garden. So grab a good pair of gardening gloves and use a little bit of force to make sure you’re pulling the weeds straight up and not simply tearing the top part off. You might also loosen the soil around the weeds to give them less surface to grab onto. Trust us, those things can be hard to remove.
Most larger plants, bushes and trees that last season to season are likely needing a little attention at this point, as they may have a few dead branches, might be a little overgrown, or are simply growing in weird, unwanted directions. So whip out a set of pruning scissors and trim those plants exactly the way you want them to look. You’ll be surprised at how much better your garden will already start to look, just by your maintaining some preexisting plants and bringing them back to life. And it only gets better from here!
An area that many overlook while gardening is the quality of the garden’s very foundation — the soil. And how crazy is that? Oftentimes, it determines the health of the entire system in your backyard.
Just looking at your soil might make you realize it needs a little (or a lot of) attention, since it’s likely that the wintertime has dried out the soil and made it extra packed down. If you’re not sure about your soil’s quality, you can always take a soil test. But whatever your soil looks like, it’s important to sift through it, removing any large rocks or other debris that may be hidden beneath the surface.
You might also consider composting or adding some fertilizer to the soil to bring it back to life. Take a trip to Fort Collins Nursery to check out their fertilizer selection, and ask any soil- or gardening-related questions you might have in the meantime!
And now, the part you may have been waiting for after all this seemingly unnecessary grunt work. We agree — this is oftentimes the most fun part of the process!
Now that you have a fresh and clean garden surface to work with, with some empty soil space and trimmed bushes, you get to add in some new plants, flowers or bushes! Plants recommended for spring include (but are not limited to) pansies, snapdragons, vegetables (such as lettuce, peas and arugula), redbuds, lilacs and tulips. Additionally, K99 has a few recommendations for flowers that do the best in Colorado.
Be sure you check when it’s the best best time to plant each item in your garden as it will vary plant to plant. Colorado’s weather can be a bit unpredictable, so if you’re fearful that snow and frost will ruin your plant’s chances for survival, we suggest starting the process indoors!
You might do so with an indoor professional greenhouse starter kit so you can introduce your plants to the outdoors at just the right time.
To help these flowers and other plants in your gardenscape do well after they’ve been planted, it’s important to fertilize them throughout the season. While you can certainly cut to the chase with some storebought fertilizer options, you can also create your very own natural fertilizer at home!
As you may have heard, coffee grounds make a wonderful addition to your soil. What wonderful news for all of us coffee drinkers! You can actually incorporate used coffee grounds directly into your garden’s soil instead of putting it through the composting process.
Another way to use kitchen waste to improve your garden’s soil is by dumping used cooking water into the soil, particularly after cooking eggs, spinach, pasta or potatoes. In fact, maybe this whole process will encourage you to cook more spinach! It’s a win-win. But be sure to not use water that has salt in it, as salt is harmful to plants.
There are several other ways to naturally fertilize your garden, but those two stick out as very practical, simple and daily applications.
This may seem obvious but we still have to say it. Once you set up your beautiful garden, the work doesn’t stop there! You must check in on it regularly — watering your plants, mowing the lawn, pruning away any unwanted growth, and continuing to remove weeds. This regular maintenance will keep things in check and prevent you from having to rescue your precious plants several months down the road.
Check out these inspiring outdoor looks for some inspiration to get cleaning, digging and planting! Sometimes it just takes seeing someone else’s gardening success to feel empowered to accomplish the same results.
What helpful gardening tips do you have? We’d love to hear from you, no matter your level of gardening experience!