This is really just a fancy name for the sensible practice of spending time at the beginning of the season so that you have more opportunity for leisure later on. Follow this spring garden checklist now and you will save yourself time and effort for the rest of the year. These ideas are contained in an article by Melinda Myers which I found on the Longfield Gardens website.
Recently I met a horticulturist who practices “cocktail gardening.” She learned the technique from her professor in college. He recommended investing time at the beginning of the garden season so you can spend less time on garden maintenance in the months ahead. And that means more time to sit and sip a cocktail or mocktail while enjoying the beauty of your garden!
Start With the Soil
Begin your spring workout with proper soil preparation. Most plants prefer moist, well-drained soils. If the soil in your garden is not ideal, you can improve it by incorporating several inches of compost, aged manure or other organic matter into the top 6 to 8 inches. Organic matter improves drainage in heavy soils and increases the water holding ability in sandy and rocky soils.
For an existing perennial garden, spread an inch or two of compost over the soil surface every other year. Use a garden fork or an auger drill bit to aerate the soil between plants and help incorporate the compost into the soil.
If possible, have your soil tested every few years. The results will tell you the type and amount of fertilizer needed for the plants you are growing. If you don’t have a soil test to go by, use a low nitrogen, slow release fertilizer and follow label directions. For flowering plants, low nitrogen fertilizers are the best choice because they don’t interfere with flower production.
Organic fertilizer formulations have some advantages. They give your plants small amounts of nutrients over a long period of time. They also feed beneficial soil life, which in turn encourage healthier, more productive plants.
Banish Weeds Early
Start managing weeds in early spring. Smaller weeds are easier to pull, especially when the soil is slightly moist. Removing them before they go to seed will prevent hundreds or even thousands of their offspring from bothering you in months and years to come.
See more at Longfield Gardens