With the start of spring not far away, there are a few tasks that can be performed now to give you a head start for when the hectic sowing and growing activity begins. Here are ten suggestions to keep you busy.

1. Wash pots

pots

Dirty plant pots can contain diseases that could spoil your hard work sowing and growing so fill a bowl with hot, soapy water and give them a good scrub.

While you’re at it, sling out any split or broken pots, stack the good ones in space-saving order and make sure your shopping list contains any sizes that are running low.

Read more: A beginner's guide to growing chillies

 

2. Scrub plant labels

plant labels
Image via Pinterest

While you’ve got the soapy water on the go, round up your plant labels and scrub off last year’s plant names ready for writing up afresh.

If you’re running low, make some free ones by cutting up white plastic milk cartons or yoghurt pots.

 

3. Get ready to sow

get ready to sow

Before long, every bit of indoor space in close proximity to a glass window will be crammed with pots and trays of germinating seeds.

This sowing activity can be quite frantic so get ahead of the game by buying your preferred sowing compost and decanting in from the awkward plastic bags to a lidded box, loosened and ready to load.

Seed trays can be cleaned and queued up and, for thrifty seed pots, save your cardboard toilet rolls and cut them in half: they’re the perfect size for sowing and can be transplanted whole when ready to pot on or move to the veg patch.

Read more: How to grow perfect apples

 

4. Mulch

mulch

You can bet that before you begin sowing, the wild seeds will have got a head start on germinating and your veg beds will already be starting to show green growth.

Hoe or dig away the invaders and cover the area with mulch. Not only will this help prevent more weeds from sprouting, it’ll also start feeding the plot ready for the veg to enjoy.

Read more: How to grow tomatoes

 

5. Start a squash pit

squash

If you’re planning on growing squashes, courgettes or pumpkins then you’ll need to be ready to feed the greedy plants with as much goodness as possible. Squash pits are a great way of giving them a head start.

Dig a big hole where they’ll be planted and start filling with vegetable scraps from the kitchen, chopped and dug in with a spade. Cover with compost a month before planting and those lucky cucurbits will be able to enjoy some homemade nourishment.

Read more: 10 Wonderful ways with pumpkin and squash

 

6. Warm the soil

bubble wrap

Seeds and seedlings aren’t too keen on being plunged into cold soil, the shock often delaying their desire to start growing.

Give them the cosiest possible start by covering the soil a few weeks before the planting action begins. Horticultural fleece is good, but a little expensive; bubble wrap is even better and often comes free with postal deliveries.

 

7. Build or mend raised beds

raised plant beds

Raised beds can make veg gardening easier and tidier, particularly if the soil on your patch isn’t well drained or is low in nutrients. If you’re handy with a saw and hammer, building your own is easy.

If you’ve got access to unwanted cupboard drawers you can customise them for garden use with minimal effort. And if you’re already blessed with raised beds, check them over to make sure they’re up to the task, replacing any rotten boards and securing loose joints with screws or nails.

 

8. Audit seeds

sort seeds
Image via Pinterest

Either you’re a well-organised sower with neatly stacked seeds packs ordered alphabetically or you throw them all together in a box.

If you’re the latter, get your act together and provide some order, throwing out out-of-date seeds and making a note of those veg that need replacing.

If you’ve got opened packs of carrots or parsnips, bin them regardless—very few will survive for a second year running.

 

9. Clean glass

greenhouses
Image via Pinterest

Greenhouses, cold frames and other glass structures will work at their most efficient if they’re sparkly clean, and it’s easier to scrub them if they’re free of plants. So remove any lingering growth and give them a gentle hosing down (be careful not to blast the glass into pieces) or wash over with a sponge.

 

10. Oil and sharpen

oil tools

In an ideal world, you would’ve properly cared for your garden tools after their final use last year. But we’ll forgive you if you didn’t—so long as you give them some attention now.

Oil any moving parts, sharpen blades, wipe away dirt and rub down rusty bits with some wire wool.

Then put the kettle on and wait for the frosts to pass.

 

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Nick and Rich run the website twothirstygardeners.co.uk and their home-grown booze recipe book, Brew it Yourself, is out now

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Feature image via Farmer's Almanac

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