It is that time of the year when homeowners need to start thinking about spring gardening. Of course, it may still be too early to plant your entire garden, but it is certainly not too early to get started, especially if you live in an area with moderate weather. For many people, gardening is a way to relax and enjoy the outdoors; after a long winter, many are ready to get their hands back in the dirt! Plus, if you start now, you won't have to do all the work at once; instead, you can work at a more leisurely pace and get you preparation work and planting done over the course of a few weeks rather than trying to jam it all into a single hectic weekend later on.
The first project you can start with is cleaning up your flower beds and vegetable plots. Especially if you live in an area that received heavy snowfall, some of your beds may need to be evened out. If you have any fences, trellises, raised beds, or other such materials, they may require minor repairs.
Weeding is everyone's least favorite job, but it needs to be done. If you start early, it will be easier to stay out ahead of the weeds. You may use chemicals or special weed pulling tools to assist you (children are also great weed pullers, if you have any you can commandeer). Try to do a thorough job weeding and make sure you are pulling the entire weeds, including their roots, out of the ground so they will not grow back as quickly.
After you finish weeding, mulch is an ideal addition to your garden. This will slow the growth of future weeds, plus it looks nice. Some people prefer to mulch after they put their plants in, but you should at least order your mulch and get it to your house so it will be ready to go as soon as you need it. If you opt not to mulch, you may want to put down plastic to prevent weed growth. Then you can cut holes in it when you are ready to plant. Another step you may need to take is adding new soil. This is especially critical if the nutrients in your soil are depleted.
Some plants may be hardy enough to set out now, and depending on where you live, it may be acceptable to start planting some seeds. If you are unsure, talk to someone at your local greenhouse or check the back of seed packets to ensure you're not acting prematurely!