Even in Vermont the snow is starting to melt—and I know that spring will be here soon. As I look out the window, I can see that my yard needs a little bit of attention before everything starts to bloom again. These simple spring garden tips will help you clear away winter and welcome in the growing season.

Raking Leaves

In a perfect world, all the leaves from last fall would have been collected and bagged. Unfortunately, I often fall behind on the raking, which means that I have a few piles of leaves that I didn’t remove. There are also some leaves that need to be raked out of flower beds and from around our trees. Raking isn’t fun but when you get rid of that damp, rotting debris your yard will look clean and fresh. And you’ll feel great when you’re done!

Refresh Mulch

As you go through your flower beds, remove any sticks, branches, leaves, or other debris that collected there over the winter. Look at the condition of the mulch. Has it worn away? Have small animals been burrowing holes and tunnels in search of food? If so, it’s time to refresh your mulch. Rake the area smooth with a small hand rake before adding fresh mulch.

Trim Plants

If you didn’t do this in the fall, it’s time to trim old plants. Discard dead annuals and spruce up perennials that will grow again this year. Look for empty spaces in your garden and start planning which plants to add. Be sure to leave enough room for new plants to grow and expand each year. Use stakes to tie up plants that need extra support.

Feed Soil

Before your plants start to bloom and grow, you’ll need to add nutrients to your soil. If you don’t already have one, consider starting a compost bin, or you can find compost at your local gardening store. Try to avoid any gardening products that have added chemicals or artificial additives. Chemicals will not only contaminate any produce you grow, they could also threaten your water supply.

Plan for Next Year

It’s not too early to plan for any changes you want to make next year. Are there areas of the garden you’d like to change by taking out old plants and planting new ones? Are you considering adding some bulbs, trees, or climbing vines? Talk to the experts at your garden store to find out the best time of year to make these changes. If your garden pots broke over the winter, consider doing things differently this year. I’ve learned to take some simple steps to care for my garden containers, so they last.

What do you do each spring to care for your garden?