Before you put your precious bulbs and seed starters in the ground, make sure your soil is ready. You can purchase a simple soil test at your local garden store to find the pH, potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus levels in your soil. Once you know what your soil is lacking, you can supplement as needed. Banana peels add potassium, chicken feathers add nitrogen, eggshells add calcium, Epsom salts add magnesium, lobster shells add phosphorus, and wood ash helps to neutralize pH.
Some seeds can be put straight into the ground, but you need to start many popular garden vegetables in a protected indoor environment before transplanting them outdoors. You can start your seeds in anything from cardboard egg cartons and eggshells to paper cups or discarded toilet paper rolls. This should happen around mid-March to early April, and your starts can be moved outdoors around the end of May.
Early spring is an excellent time to clean up existing garden beds. You want to wait until your soil is thawed and dried out a little bit to avoid soil impaction and to make it easier to pull dead annuals from the previous year. Take the dead leaves off existing perennials. You don’t need to get too crazy with clean up, just be sure to remove the thick clumps of leaves so they won’t slow new growth.
If you put down leaf mulch in your beds last fall, you can leave them on your beds through spring. The mulch will help to keep new weeds from having a place to sprout, and the decomposing leaves will continue to nourish your soil.