selective focus photo of yellow flowers in bloom

1. Map your garden.

If you haven’t done so already, create a basic garden map. This should include the property lines and any topography or other salient features like existing fences, trees, or water features.

Next, add an overlay or separate version of the map that indicates how much sun various areas get. Plants need the right amount of sun.

yellow tulip flower field during daytime
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

2. Repair and maintain fences, raised beds, and any other artificial structures.

Walk around the garden. Inspect everything. There may not be much to do, or there may be quite a bit of wear and tear since last year’s growing season.

Depending on the climate, this step might also include replacing garden hoses or getting seasonal items out of storage. Garden items also include the picnic table and fire pit for my household.

3. Prune trees and mulch or compost the old growth from last year.

Oh, the first pruning of the apple trees. They were just planted last year, and the majority of the new growth in the branches had to be removed. This lets the root growth catch up, but it feels so brutal.

Not everyone feels the need to prune trees if they are approaching the garden from a permaculture perspective. That is okay too.

If all the old growth was left to over-winter, a certain amount of rearranging is in order, such as discarding the spent second-year berry canes from last year.

close up photography of yellow flowers
Photo by Maria Tyutina on Pexels.com

4. Plan your plantings and start any seeds indoors that need a head start on the season

This is the fun part! For zones 8-10, late freezes are much less of a concern. Farther north, it makes sense to start a few seedlings indoors if you are so inclined.

As the garden matures, there will be fewer and fewer new plantings in the spring. In my garden, I just have to have annuals such as tomatoes, peppers, summer squash, and pumpkins.

Seed saving last year was limited to a few different legumes and some nasturtiums.

With hazelnuts, roses, apples, walking onions, blackberries, and a few other perennials coming along, it is set to be an exciting year!