How to Prep Raised Beds for Spring (5 Things You Must Do Now)

Prepping Raised Beds for Spring – Here’s how I will be prepping my raised beds for the spring growing season. Do any of you have caught the spring fever yet? I know I have….It’s caught on early, as we’ve had a dreary, rainy couple of months that have been less than fun to contend with. Even though the equinox is a couple of weeks away, where i live I usually see the early signs…bees buzzing, my neighbor’s tree putting out a expansive show of white blossoms, (and they’re dropping all over my yard -no complaints of course)

No bees yet, I’m sure i will see then when it finally dries out. I hope. Anyway between sprouting seeds and keeping an eye on them, hoping I can get them over the hump and into semi maturity, I’m itching to do a little digging.-

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prepping garden beds spring

it’s a different ball game from the things you do when you are over-wintering your beds….Spring is a time of renewal, winter one of contraction and “lying still”.¬† Here are all the things I’am doing and you should to, to be sure your garden beds and ready to “wake up” from slumber.

Do repairs, if needed

Some of our wood sleepers have slid out of place, so I have to readjust them. If you’re using wood sleepers as well it’s a good idea to investigate them, make sure none of them are rotting, I can see lichen growing on the underside of one of them which may be no big deal. The corner edges, I check those, too, and make sure none fo them have slipped out of place, (sometimes they do from some of the movement from past activities)

Bed check -weeds, dead vegetation, etc

Now it’s time to do a bed check – Are there weeds growing or dead vegetation? I’ll get to work extricating those as they are nutrient-stealers. Don’t forget the straggly grass that sprouts up around the beds, too, as it sneaks up out of nowhere and it can be relentless. I’ve had to use a weedwacker a few times on those. For every bed do a good comb-over, and pull out the offenders.Then there’s the remains of odd objects like old solar lights, etc.

weeds in bed to clean out
Some work cut out for me…

Check and test soil

Over the fall and winter months, the soil settles over time, so we will be topping them off with an additional layer of new topsoil. You should do the same, It would also be a good idea to do a soil test, as the composition can change in just one season, if you’ve done this before hopefully you recorded the results of last season’s test. I share several different methods – choose the one that works for you, and see if anything has changed and if anything in the area of amendments needs to be added before going on with your new crops.

Tilling

You probably don’t associate raised beds with tilling, but after a dormant period of time, it is a good idea to aerate the soil to get it ready for the spring planting season. as all the material has become compacted and less porous. We bought a roto-tiller from a yard sale last summer and have kept it in storage, but we did give it a trail run to make sure it performed well being a second-hand piece of equipment.

Rakes and similar tools can provide the same result although perhaps not as thoroughly as a roto tiller. So if it’s possible to rent one of these, that’s a good idea.

tiller for the garden
Our rototiller

Practice crop rotation

Crop rotation is the practice of planting crops in different  plots from the previous growing season. This is an important practice to prevent or minimize the spread of fungi, soil borne pathogens and pests that are carried from one crop that could pass on to another. Hopefully you are keeping a log of what you planted and in which bed during seasons so you can keep track of it and map out whatever changes and which crops for the next cycle.

I take photos, of course, and make sure to assign the date as well as keep a log on one of my spreadsheets, so I know exactly what I am going to plant next time (within reason, make sure you plan out crop placements that are compatible with one another.)

So if you have these five steps in place, I say you are good to go, if you are also keeping tabs on your seedlings as well, don’t forget about those. Good luck to you and here’s to a happy planting season for 2024 spring season!

 

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