Now that January is drawing to a close, it’s a good time to start looking forward to the first days of Spring – it won’t be long before flowers are once again blooming, birds are once again singing, trees are once again covered with greenery, and small furry animals have emerged from their hiding places.
If you’re of a green-fingered disposition, this means that you’ll need to be prepared to take advantage of the season. As you’ll doubtless have noticed, this year has seen one of the mildest winters on record, with successive storms battering the country’s west coast, bringing about near-unprecedented rainfall and making life pretty miserable for anyone trapped on a flood plain. This means that springtime gardening can start slightly early – so it’s best to prepare now. In this article, we’ll run through some of those essential items you’ll need to secure for your shed in time for the season.
Gardening is, in principle, all about selection. The role of the gardener is to encourage some forms of growth, and discourage others. We might do this by pruning bushes, mowing lawns or clipping hedges. But the most obvious application of this principle is weed control – weeds are, by definition, undesirable plants that we’d ideally like to rid our garden of.
There are many different ways of doing this. The most obvious of these comes in a bottle – simply spray weed killer onto the offending organism and watch it wilt and die. Unfortunately, it’s remarkably difficult to discriminate while doing this – especially when weeds are growing right beneath the shade of your prized vegetables.
One might alternatively take to doing things manually. Simply put on a pair of gloves, grab hold of the weed and give it a good yank. This method is thorough, to be sure – but it’s also hard work, and physically taxing. If you haven’t gotten yourself a decent pair of gardening gloves, you’ll find that it’s even more so. For this reason, there’s no time better than the present to secure yourself a high quality pair.
Of course, the best way to solve this particular problem is to prevent it from taking root in the first place. By far the most effective means of doing this is through landscape fabric. This is a special sheet of opaque plastic which can be laid over an area of soil in order to prevent sunlight from reaching any plant that’s beneath. The best versions of this technology will allow nutrients and moisture to pass through into the soil while still excluding sunlight. This will allow the soil to remain healthy and moist, while preventing weeds from growing, and will keep your vegetable patch, paths and flower-beds clean and weed-free.
Another, more aesthetically-agreeable form of week control comes in the form of bark chippings, which can be used in ornamental landscaping. Like the fabric, bark chippings will prevent sunlight from reaching the soil, where it might encourage weed growth – but they will allow water and minerals to penetrate downwards. Scatter them among the roots of a rosebush and you’ll save yourself a great deal of work later on tidying things up again.
You’ll also want to secure yourself some high-quality topsoil. Depending on what you’re looking to plant this spring, you’ll want to select a topsoil whose mineral content will be of the greatest benefit to your plants.
Of course, you’ll also want an ample supply of compost. This is an essential component of many gardening tasks, including potting, sowing and cutting – and so it’s not something that can really be forgone. Be sure to pick up a high-quality compost in order to give your garden the best chance of thriving.
It’s worth also checking that you’ve gathered the right tools for this job. You don’t need much to begin with – a high-quality trowel is enough to achieve fantastic results. But if you’re serious, there exists a vast arsenal of great gardening tools, and there’s no shortage of retailers looking to sell them to you. If you’re in Wales or the West Midlands, then you might consider Richard Williams, one of the best Timber Suppliers in North Wales. If you’re looking for help with a more substantial project, like the construction of an extension (or a shed in which to store your garden tools) then they’re also among the foremost merchants of timber and building materials in North Wales.
If you’re new to the world of gardening, then there’s no time like the present to get involved. You don’t need to start too ambitiously – many a veteran horticulturalist got their start with just a window box and a watering can. Once you’ve gotten the hang of things, the rewards are more than worth it – not only in terms of the literal fruits (and indeed, vegetables) of your labour, but in terms of the exercise and almost spiritual feel-good factor that results from a job well done.