Go Seed Shopping
Whether you are planting flowers or putting in a vegetable garden (or both!), you need to start your seed shopping early. Buy some seed catalogs and peruse what you want to get. Go to your local hardware or farm and ranch stores; if they don’t have seeds and bulbs already, ask when they will.
Prepare Your Garden Beds
The first project on the list is preparing your beds. If you haven’t done so already, start cutting back any dead growth and pulling weeds that have sprouted. Clean up sticks, leaves, and any other debris that have probably fallen in and around your beds and garden.
If you have raised beds or stakes, check them for water damage from the previous growing season and fix or replace them as needed. Fix broken fences and trellises as well. If you noticed rabbits, deer, or squirrels getting into your garden last year, think about an upgrade, such as higher fences that deer can’t jump or chicken wire buried enough that it can’t be burrowed under.
Clean your greenhouse, if you have one. Disinfecting the inside and outside, even the pots, will prevent disease and pests from infecting your young plants. Clean your gardening tools for the same reason and sharpen any that needs it for a better cut.
Check Your Soil
If the bed has been established, then there is no need to dig it up. Established beds have a complex ecosystem already in place that will help your plants grow. Simply top-dress it with a good fertilizer or well-seasoned manure; the nutrients on top will work their way to the bottom.
Sowing Longer Season Seeds
If you get seeds that need a longer season, start sowing them in seed pots now. Some vegetables and fruits may need a longer season than what your region allows for. Sowing them now and transplanting them into beds later will give them the chance to flourish and bloom along with your other plants.
Create a Compost Area
If you don’t have one already, clear an area for a compost heap. While your pruning, weeding and digging out any dead growth in preparation, throw the dead waste onto the heap. Get a good mix of paper, veggie peelings, and clipped plants to create a good compost. You’ll have to mix it around once a month to keep it aerated, but by next year, you should have a good mulch to top-dress your beds with.
These are a just a few tips to get you started. There are plenty of resources that can give you more ideas on how to prepare your beds and get things rolling. Happy gardening!