Spring Garden Clean-Up & Raised Bed Prep

Ah yes, spring, the gardening season that I both look forward to & secretly want to delay as much as I can. I really miss gardening during the winter, but I definitely never yearn for the big spring gardening clean up. I always end up dragging my feet every year & this year was no exception. I mentioned this year’s big spring garden clean in my rose pruning article, but I thought it would be interesting to take you on a bit of a walk-through with a garden with me type of article.

prepping raised bed picture
Spring gardening prep complete.

Every spring I start off by pruning my rose garden & most of my perennials, then I give them their first dose of fertilizer for the season. Our mild winter led to early new growth on my hydrangeas, so I pruned them a bit late this year. I usually have to cut them down quite a bit too due to winter damage but said mild winter was kind to my hydrangeas this year. I always leave a few dried flowers on the branches for winter interest, so I pretty much just lopped them off & removed any dead wood from the bushes to complete the job. I also cleaned up my heucheras by pruning off all of the old leaves & leaving the new growth at the center. This can be a little scary, but they always make a strong comeback every year after pruning. I also cut back my veronica all the way to the crown of the plant & my spring pruning was finished.

before hydrangea pruning picture
Before hydrangea pruning picture.
pruned hydrangea picture
After hydrangea pruning picture.

After the pruning came the raking, which consists of raking up all of the leaf mulch that I leave on my garden beds over the winter. In the fall, I rake all of our fallen leaves into our garden beds to protect our plants over the winter & to help enrich the soil. I always love doing it in the fall, but I hate cleaning it up in the spring, especially after spending all that time pruning. Raking just might be my least favorite gardening chore, but it has to be done & boy does it look great once you finish the job! There are still some straggler leaves left behind, especially in the rose garden, but I’ll just mulch on top of them. I still haven’t mulched, let’s be honest, I haven’t even bought mulch this year yet! I’ll have to get on it soon, but the raked beds still look so much fresher & ready for spring. 

pruned limelight hydrangea picture
Post raking with last year’s mulch. We love red mulch because it makes our plants pop.
grape hyacinths picture
& here’s that color pop. I love the contrast of the hyacinths against the mulch.

Finally, I prepped/fertilized my raised veggie bed for the upcoming growing season, which is my favorite spring clean up task. I don’t have a tiller, but a shovel & a hard rake does the job just fine. I moved my drip irrigation out of the way & got to it by digging & raking the soil until it was soft. There is just something so satisfying about turning over the soil & making it nice & fluffy all over again. We have some hard to dig areas of our yard where it can be a real struggle to plant because of our heavy clay soil, which is why I built a raised veggie bed in the first place. So, it’s always such a pleasure having such nice, soft & fluffy soil that I can scoop out holes with my hands once I’m ready to plant veggies. You have to create a raised bed veggie garden if you haven’t already. It makes your gardening life so much easier & it will make your plants so much happier as well.

prepping a raised bed
Before prepping the raised bed with my drip irrigation all a jumble.
raised garden bed prep picture
After prepping. Now my garlic & winter sowing milk jug tomatoes are ready for some new veggie & marigold neighbors.
Bio-tone starter fertilizer picture
Let me tell you about my best friend, my fertilizer best friend. I use this in my raised bed prep & whenever I plant something new.

That’s all folks, my spring garden clean up is complete & it’s ready for plants! It’s just in time too because I am itching to buy veggies & annual flowers.

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