Spring Garden Preparations

Spring is here! The sun is up for longer, and life is returning to the garden after a long and cold winter. There's so much to do during these spring months, so we thought we'd compile a to-do list of everything you need to get your garden prepared for the summer. Here is your guide to preparing your garden and getting that yard in perfect condition for the summer to come.

Foundations First


Start with the ground up. The lawn is usually the first eyesore after the snowmelt, so it’s probably the first thing you’ll want to tackle. The key is to resist the urge to strip it all away. A light fan brushing of the leaves is safe, but try to avoid any heave raking or scraping as the ground is still moist and you will risk exposing the lawn to more weeds and dead areas.



Now is the time to start brushing away the needles and debris from the soil. Over the winter, the garden dirt gets down packed by a heavy layer of snow, so dig around and get some air into it again. While the soil is still moist, pull up all the dandelions and weeds that survived the winter. While the soil is moist like this, you have a better chance of pulling the whole taproot to prevent weed regrowth and flowering.


Nutrients Nutrients Nutrients

When you think May, think mulch! Think fertilizer, and think compost. Winter tends to wash away all soil amendments, leaving your garden in much need of restoration. Apply mulch to the bases of your plants; this will protect the roots and retain soil moisture as you head into the hot summer months. You can also add fertilizer and compost to your soil and lawn for extra nutrients.

Prep The Plants

Now for the fun part, and the real reason why we need to prep the yard - the plants!

1) Prune it

It’s important to prune anything that has not begun budding or blossoming.  Pruning for summer-blooming shrubs is best done earlier in the season, as pruning a tree or bush in its budding phase will risk killing it. Your spring-blooming shrubs can wait until they have fully blossomed for any trimming needs.

2) Plan it

The gardening process can be overwhelming at this time of year as you look over a lawn of bleak brown soil and half-alive grass. The key is to make a plan! Now is a great time to plan where you want to put plants in advance, making note of where the sunny spots and the shady spots are in your yard. Knowing the climate and soil quality will help you choose the right plants and put plants in places they will thrive. For example, if you have a spruce tree near a flower bed in your yard, that soil will be more acidic from the fallen needles than another spot in the yard. Check plant tags to find the right plant for the specific amount of sun and style of soil.

3) Plant it


Although it’s early in the season, there are a few things you can begin planting to feed that gardening craving. Now is the time to seed your hardy vegetables: we’re talking about peas, lettuce, spinach, garlic, cilantro, onions, and beets. These vegetables will sow in colder soil and can withstand cool temperatures in the evening while growing.


Of course, a pop of color would be particularly lovely right now. Here are some cold-hardy annual flowers that will bring color and energy to your yard. Try planting a couple of pansies, snapdragons, violas, and primulas. These flowers can be put directly into the ground and they’re hardy enough to manage through colder temperatures. You can also use this time to transplant your perennial plants because large growth hasn’t started;  splitting the root and replanting in other places will give it the proper time to re-grow and multiply the size of perennial plants.

Beware the Elements

Tuck them in

Calgary and area are zone 3b and 4 on the plant hardiness scale, meaning that May can still bring some unique and frosty weather. Some plants need to wait until the ground is just a little bit warmer to thrive properly. If there are frost warnings throughout the month, place a bedsheet or tarp over the top of surfaced plants, or make sure the plants are in a sheltered area for those colder evenings.


You Are Ready!

The sun is out and temperatures are rising, which makes us eager to get out and get started. Now is the time to tidy that yard, stain that fence, repair that deck and get that ground ready without risking damage to any plants. And when that green does begin to pop up, you’ll be able to sit back and watch the world in full bloom.