As we approach the growing season here in zone 6b I thought I’d share what I’m doing to get ready! The past couple of years, I’ve made a concerted effort to do all of my clean up work in the fall. I’ve found that I enjoy the garden (and the field but this post focuses more on our personal garden) much more when I can go in and start all the fun stuff right away!

Something that I try to do every year is take a soil sample in the garden and field. This lets me know more about the health and makeup of my soil and what I can do to make it closer to an ideal growing medium for my specific crop. The easiest place to get your soil tested is through the Master Gardener program in your county, they are usually an extension service of the State’s University system. I just pick up the soil testing kit at their offices.

I’ve started seeds for both flowers and vegetables. If you are unsure when to start seeds, I recommend you check out this seed calendar or this one. I use soil blocks for my seed starting, it’s a mission of ours to use less plastic and this way I don’t have to use plastic trays. Everyone says they look like brownies! I’ve had really great success with them.

I’m also just starting to direct sow a few cool season seeds such as spinach, radishes and peas. Note: I plant my peas very close together because I’ve found that is the only way to get enough peas for our family of 4. I’ve never had a problem with them planted so closely or so haphazardly as in the photo below!

A few weeks ago, I pruned all my roses and I’ll soon be feeding them as well. I usually wait until just before the new leaves unfurl, per David Austin’s website. They have really great advice and videos on care for roses. I also wait until I feed them to put a layer of compost around them. Roses are susceptible to all sort of ailments but we do not spray them since I so often use them for culinary purposes.

I’ll also prune my blackberries and raspberries now. Stark Brothers has a nice explanation on how to do this effectively. I would like to note that it’s always a good idea to make a map of your garden’s perineals and write down the variety! I’ve learned this the hard way, time and time again! Knowing the variety can make it so much easier to know how to prune fruits, hydrangeas, clematis, rose, and lots more.

Which leads me to TAKE NOTES of what/when/where I’m sowing, planting, and moving. Every single year, I think I will remember something I’ve done and I don’t. Every single year. I’ve sworn this year will be different. I’ve been using this notepad the past year or two for sowing/planting and it’s worked out great. I used Appointed notebooks for in depth notes.

So far, I feel rather on top of things but I’m perfectly aware that all it takes is a few weeds coming in, a crop failure/accidental neglect or just the rush of spring to tip me over the edge! So tell me, what are you doing to prepare?