Some areas are blessed with warm temperatures in the early part of the year, while others have snow on the ground until April or May. It is important to understand that when we speak of early spring, we are talking about a season rather than a date. This is especially true of getting the garden prepared in the early spring.
It can be difficult if not impossible to do any garden preparation if there is deep snow or ice on the ground. However, when the ground starts thawing out, it is time to start thinking of preparation.
The earlier you prepare the garden plot, the sooner you can reasonably expect to start planting those vegetables that are cold hardy.
Early preparation also results in a better garden without needing to put in a huge amount of effort all at once. In fact, you can save a bunch of effort.
There are a couple of methods of ground preparation used for the garden in the early spring, which will usually yield good results. The first is the simplest, though alone, it leaves a little bit to be desired. It is to cover the plot with black plastic and to weight it down. This helps by both burning and smothering any weed seeds or developing weeds that have made their way into the garden. The black plastic can be pulled up later, when the temperatures rise, and prior to tilling or turning over the soil.
The downside is that while this can help kill the weed seeds, it does little to really improve the soil.
The second method can be used in conjunction with the first; after the black plastic has been removed, or it can be used alone. This is to put down a few inches of compost in a layer over the garden. If you have no compost, a thin layer of straw can be used. Straw can also be used with the compost. Even leaves or hay can be used.
Allow this to lie on the ground until you are ready to work the soil, and then till or turn it into the dirt. This increases the fertility of the garden soil, which in turn gives extra nutrients to anything you plant. At the same time, it improves the quality of the soil in regard to making sure it is porous.
The fact is that many people put straw, hay, or compost over their gardens late in the fall, in part so it can be tilled into the soil in the spring. The more you do for your vegetable garden, the more it will produce for you.
This can be a time and labor saver later on when you don’t have to add fertilizer or spend a lot of time removing new weeds before you can even plant the garden.
Gardening can be a lengthy, backbreaking job. It really doesn’t need to be, though. One way to make it much easier is to start preparing the garden in the early spring. Once you see how great the results are and how great your vegetable garden grows, there’s a good chance you will be doing this every year, in the early spring.