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12 Ways to Prepare for Your Spring Garden While it’s Still Cold

Now's the perfect time to start planning your spring garden, so put on your warm slippers, grab a mug of hot cocoa and start looking at seed catalogs and sites. Planning ahead will pay off as soon as it's warm enough to get outside and start digging in the dirt.

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Decide on the Garden Location

When preparing for your spring garden, start by deciding where you are actually going to put the garden. If you’re planning a vegetable garden, you’re going to want to put the garden in a sunny place. If you’re planning a flower garden that goes around the house, consider the type of sunlight each area will receive and be sure to consider that when selecting your flowers.

Photo: fotocraft/Shutterstock

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Consider What to Plant

The next thing you’ll have to do, after choosing a location for your spring garden, is consider what you’ll actually plant. Keep sunlight top-of-mind and take into consideration plants that look good together. And, some plants work together to resist pests, eliminating any need for pesticides. Tall varieties in back and low-growers in front.

Photo: Irina Fischer/Shutterstock

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shutterstock_20147953 backyard landscaping layout planScott E. Feuer/Shutterstock

Draw a Diagram of the Garden Layout


Once you’ve got a pretty good idea of where and what you’re going to plant, draw a diagram that will help guide you. Some people work well with a simple sketch, while others will want to draw diagrams to scale. Also, there is design software available if you’d prefer a digital diagram. If you decide you’d like to add a raised garden bed this spring, be sure to add that to your plan.

Photo: Scott E. Feuer/Shutterstock

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Check Grow Zones for Planting Dates


Before you make final decisions on what to plant, check the grow zone for your area. These charts, available online, show the exact location of each zone. When planning your garden, check to be sure the plants you’re choosing are safe for your grow zone.

Photo: Courtesy of USDA

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Order Your Seeds


The next thing you’ll want to do for your spring garden is order seeds, if you’re going to start with seeds instead of bedding plants. You may be able to get the seeds you want from a local nursery or there are many online sources and catalogs.

Photo: alexsmetana/Shutterstock

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Gather Starting Pots and Trays


The next thing you will want to do is to get a supply of plant starting pots and trays. Many seedlings are too weak to survive in even the warmest weather, without first being started in smaller pots and then transplanted outdoors after they get stronger. This includes flowering plants like petunias and other similar flowers or tomato and pepper plants.

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Make Sure Gardening Tools are in Good Repair


The next thing you need to do is check your gardening tools and make sure they’re in good repair and replace anything that’s broken. You probably need a new pair of gardening gloves!

Photo: alicja neumiler/Shutterstock

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shutterstock_96415448 gardening suppliesMarie C Fields/Shutterstock

Purchase Supplies


There are certain other garden supplies that you’ll need later on but can purchase now. Fertilizers and pesticides (natural or chemical), plant ties and weed barrier fabric are items you’ll want to have on hand.

Photo: Marie C Fields/Shutterstock

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Service Your Rototiller


If you are a serious gardener and you own a rototiller, be sure it’s working before you need it to till your garden soil.

Photo: FotoDuets/Shutterstock

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Late Frost?


It may not happen, but it’s wise to consider what you’ll do if there is a late spring frost. Be prepared. Have frost cloths, such as old sheets, tablecloths and towels, ready to cover tender plants. Avoid using plastic. You can also cover individual plants with inverted flower pots and buckets. And, if you have the space, potted plants can be brought indoors.

Photo: psv/Shutterstock

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Make Plant Markers


Another fun thing you can do when planning your spring garden is make plant markers for each section or row of the garden. Until the plants are large, it’s hard to tell what’s been planted unless you mark it. Plus, if the plants grow especially well, you’ll want to remember exactly which seeds you planted.