As the winter weather starts moving from cooler to warmer, our soils begin to awaken and beckon us to start planting things. You might be thinking about planting seeds into punnets and keeping them sheltered in readiness for spring. This really would give you a satisfying and affordable head start. The pleasure of eating fresh, delicious fruits, vegetables and herbs from your garden can hardly be measured and without question the other bonus of gardening is exercising. With a little perspiration we know we’re doing something worthwhile for our health and nurturing our overall well-being by lifting, shovelling, bending and stretching. It’s also wonderful to hear and see the birds in our garden as we breathe in the fresh air.

Now really is the perfect time to start planning your spring garden, so with a cup of tea in hand start looking at seed catalogues, web sites or the seeds you may have collected (and of course labelled) from last summer. You will be planting them as soon as the soil is warm enough and the last of the frost has gone.

After finishing your cup of tea and checking your seeds, it’s a good idea is to inspect your gardening tools to make sure they’re in good condition. Get them ready by cleaning them and repairing anything broken. A few days ago while wearing gardening gloves it reminded me of the importance of caring for your hands too.

When designing and preparing your spring garden, think about where you are actually going to put the garden. If you’re planning a vegetable garden in particular, a sunny location is ideal. Make sure that your soil is enriched with composted material, manures, rock minerals or whatever you have available as these will ensure a good future harvest. Flower, foliage, succulent and other gardens will need to have sunlight consideration too; especially if you want good flowering. My favourite method of starting a new garden bed is rolling out the hose shaped to my liking and marked along with sand or flour before digging the edge. I keep in mind too that a mower will need to pass easily. Rock edges are always my favourite as it’s a resource I have here on the farm and lizards love to warm their bodies on them.

Think about what grows well in your own area, looks nice as a combination and where your new garden bed is and what’s to be planted. Sometimes a diagram will help you with a simple sketch, drawing your diagram to scale or using a design software if you prefer it to be digital.

Sharing seeds and cuttings with your neighbours, relatives and friends is a great way to give diversity to your garden. Otherwise you can purchase seeds from local nurseries, local markets or online. It’s certainly winter now but before too long we will be enjoying our spring gardens so preparation of your soil and plantings is the key to a good head start. I know here in our front garden at Ramesa Farm both native and other bees will be busy in our Liquidambar tree combing the opening buds for nectar very soon.