Remember that patch of green outside the house? Here's how to nurse it back to life for spring
1. Green-fingered goals
First things first, think about your gardening goals. Do you want to add plants or grow vegetables? Improve the layout or design of an area? Get the kids to each pick a favourite plant and flower to grow so they feel included. Figure out everything you require now and you will save yourself a lot of time later on.
2. Spring clean with family
Next, it’s time to clear away dead leaves and get pulling at those weeds – and this is a great job for the whole family to help out with. Not only will a thorough Spring clean make your outdoor area look nicer, a clean garden is a happy garden and essential for reducing insects and plant disease. To get the kids involved, set them some fun targets and reward their hard work with Easter treats. Make sure everyone wears gloves.
3. Happy soil
You’ve been dreaming all winter about the lovely things you’d like to grow, but before you do, you’ll need to prepare the soil. Tilling will loosen soil and any determined weeds, plus help it to dry out and warm up faster during the changeable spring weather. Once done you can add compost to feed and nourish the ground and, in turn, your future plants. Remember, healthy soil makes for healthy plants so even more for you and your family to enjoy.
4. Prepare your tools
Time to bring those gardening tools out of retirement and put them to good use, but first you need to make sure that they are in good serviceable order. Rub linseed oil over wooden handles to preserve them and use a wire brush to scrub off any built-up rust from metal parts. Don’t forget those pruners! Thoroughly clean anything that will be used to cut plants with turpentine and then rub with denatured alcohol to remove any traces. Finally, sharpen blades and oil any moving parts and you’re almost good to go.
5. Get gardening
At last it’s time to get planting, and this is an activity the kids will love helping out with. Keep in mind that some plants only grow and flourish at certain times of the year, so do your research first. You can always help some seedlings along by fashioning planters out of empty bottles or egg cartons, and grow them on your windowsill until the time comes to plant them properly. The kids can help you with digging the holes and planting seeds and flowers, and they’ll get great pleasure out of watching their favourite flowers grow and flourish.
6. Don’t forget the veg
It’s a common misconception that you need a huge garden, or even an allotment, to grow your own vegetables. Many vegetables can thrive in small spaces. If you’ve never grown your own veg before, start with something easy like tomatoes which can be grown in a separate pot. Go for a reliable variety that’s most likely to reap rewards such as Gardener’s Delight.
7. Dust off the garden furniture
And finally, time to fill your outdoor space with everything that was shoved in the shed for winter. Tables, chairs, toys: give them all a good hose down and, if necessary, give old furniture a new lick of paint to make it look fresh, new and ready for the new season.