Whether you’re looking to sell your home in the future or you simply want to make your property look its best, you can’t forget about its exterior. After all, curb appeal can make all the difference. And while one of the top projects for homeowners is replacing the garage door, which earns more than a 90% return on investment, landscaping is undoubtedly one of the most effective options for property improvement.
While 113.5 million people participated in gardening between 2013 and 2014, the pandemic brought about a gardening boom unlike anything we’ve ever seen in recent memory. With more people staying home and wanting to focus on self-sustainability, it’s no surprise that pandemic victory gardens became a common sight in 2020. In fact, the demand for seeds was so great that suppliers reported major shortages. Many are anticipating that the trend will continue this year, which means that greenhouses and garden supply centers are stocking up early. Indoor gardening, as well, is likely going to keep growing in popularity, with research from the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences showing that 80% of people who participated in this activity at the start of the pandemic will continue to partake through 2021.
Gardening is an excellent physical activity, even for older folks, which can help the 52% of seniors who need long-term care services stay fit and able-bodied for longer. Many say that the sense of accomplishment is their driving force, while gardening can also provide a welcome distraction or a means of stress relief during a crisis. And if you have kids, gardening together can allow for a more hands-on education at a time when virtual learning is prevalent.
Although winter weather will be sticking around for a little while yet in many parts of the country, it’s really never too early to start planning out your garden — especially when demand is expected to be so high. Here are a few quick tips that will help you hit the ground running (and make sure that ground is ready for planting).
- Decide what to plant. Planning out what you’ll plant in your garden can be the really fun part. While some people wait to see what’s available at their local garden center, you’ll need to choose ahead of time if you’re starting from seeds. Make sure to include plenty of options to support local pollinators and that you include veggies, plants, and flowers that will mature throughout the growing season to keep your garden looking gorgeous for months.
- Test your soil. Before you plant anything, you should test your soil to assess its pH and determine whether you need to add any nutrients. Otherwise, your plants may fail to thrive.
- Clear your garden. If you already have a plot for your garden, you’ll want to clear away debris and cut back any dead growth. Look out for any unwanted pests, as well.
- Inspect and clean your tools. Now is a great time to clean your tools and your garden shed (if you have one) to ready them for planting season. If you need to replace anything or stock up on soil and mulch, get that done early.
- Start your seeds inside. This helpful chart can give you an idea of when to begin planing even when the ground outside isn’t quite ready.
- Wait for the right temperature. You can’t rush your spring planting. If the soil and air temperatures aren’t sufficient, you could risk losing your plants. Although there are ways to warm the soil, like black plastic and solar cones, most home gardeners may not want to invest in those. Wait to transfer or plant until nighttime temperatures stay above 40 degrees.
Winter sometimes seems to last forever, but spring really is just around the corner. With these tips in mind, you can get your garden ready and ensure it blooms beautifully throughout 2021.