Get a head start on spring by using the last few weeks of winter to prepare your garden for the best results for the seasons ahead.
Start by removing any rubbish that has accumulated in your garden and shed over the winter months, like faded and cracked plant pots. Revive garden furniture with a good clean and a coat of paint, and repair any damage your fences may have suffered in winter’s storms. An alternative to painting wooden furniture is to sand it down and treat with furniture oil. If you do not already have one, borrow or hire a pressure washer to clean decking and paving, particularly in shady areas where moss and algae like to grow.
Early spring is the best time to remove weeds but you need to be able to see them first, so cut off dead flower heads and rake garden beds to remove dead leaves that can be composted and used to enrich the soil later in the year. Remove any damaged tree limbs or arrange for a professional to cut them down, and prune any woody-looking bushes and shrubs that need it.
Once you have cleared your garden of winter’s detritus, take a good look at its bare bones to see if you need to change your planting scheme this year. Were there any gaps or areas you were not satisfied with last year? Does your lawn look patchy?
As soon as the ground has thawed enough to dig with a pitchfork, then you can begin to revive it by adding nutrients in the form of compost or manure. You can do this every few weeks, digging and adding more goodness so that the soil is ready and waiting when it is time to plant.
Remember to show your tools some TLC too, especially before you use shears and saws to prune. Remove any rust using a wire brush and sharpen blades so that they cut rather than crush delicate stems. Sand any rough spots on wooden handles and rub with linseed oil.