Countryside Online

A membership for people who are passionate about rural life.

Top tips for waking up your garden

Top tips for waking up your garden

Reconnecting with farming and growing_24540

Now is the perfect time to begin gently awakening your garden from its winter slumber, according to horticulture experts at And to help get us all out in the garden, they have compiled some top tips. 

Before plant enthusiasts are able to jump into placing new flowers and shrubs, a number of general yard tasks must be undertaken to ensure gardens are prepped, organised and equipped to make the most of the blooming season.

From cleaning up your garden tools and tracking down pesky pests to pruning shrubs and trees and making a detailed plan for planting, these are the jobs you should be undertaking now in order to enjoy a successful and flourishing garden come spring.

Yard Tasks

1. Clean up your yard or garden

Spend some time doing some general cleaning and tidying jobs by removing leaves and debris from your lawn, taking note of areas that need reseeding. If you have perennials from last year, cut down foliage and reserve it for your compost bin. Divide clumped perennials for later replanting or sharing with friends. You can also start fixing fences, gates and trellis so you’ll have more time focusing on your plants after tidying up.

2. Wash and polish your garden tools

Your tools will likely need some TLC after months of non-use and hiding in the garden shed or basement. Shears and hand pruners may have accumulated dirt that, if left unwashed, could infect your newly-pruned plants. Almost all tools are easier to work with when cleaned and sharpened, so take the time to hone those spades, trowels and hoes with a file and apply lubricating oil.

3. Prune shrubs and trees

If you haven’t got around to pruning your trees before or during winter, now is the best time to do so. Remove damaged, dead and diseased branches, but take note whether a certain plant is best pruned before spring growth or right after flowering. Pruning fruit trees is best done in late winter or early spring. Also take time to thin dead foliage now before new growth begins and thinning becomes too difficult.

4. Track down garden pests

Slugs, snails, aphids and larvae may have been sheltering in the crowns or flip sides of your plants for the winter. Go after these hibernating pests before putting in new plants. There are a slew of pest control materials and methods to choose from, but it’s best to start with more natural means like homemade remedies or beneficial insects that will prey on the harmful ones.

5. Prepare the beds and reinvigorate the soil

It’s a lot easier to pull out weeds now so go through it and rake the mulch that remained on the bed over the winter. But how will you know if your soil is ready for gardening since winter weather takes a hard toll on garden soil? An easy guide is to grab a handful of soil, squeeze it tightly, then open your fist. The soil should crumble instead of forming clumps. Take a soil test for pH level if necessary and enrich accordingly: add dolomitic lime to raise pH or sulphur to lower pH. Add in some compost or well-rotted manure too, using a spading fork to mix in everything perfectly well.

6. Prepare for planting

Vegetables: Garden vegetables are usually planted when the soil is warm, but March can be a great time to plant cool-season vegetables that can withstand the last frosty days of the month. You may opt to plant these vegetables directly in the soil, underneath a row cover, or in containers. For a continual harvest, plant several varieties of each.

Herbs: Complement your springtime recipes with the unmistakable flavours and fragrance of fresh, home-grown herbs this season. Dedicate a row for herbs in your garden or grow them on your kitchen windowsill for easy reach.

Fruits: Growing fruits in the UK can be difficult but not impossible, and it will definitely give your garden an edge.


Have your say on this

Your comment will be checked by our moderation team and may be used in other NFU publications. Commenting guidelines

Post a comment: