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12 Spring Projects That Will Help Your Summer Garden Thrive

Are you ready to get back into your garden and get your hands dirty? I’ll show you how your summer garden will thrive by working on these projects this spring season.

Spring is the season when gardeners start walking around their gardens with a smile on their faces.

Whether it’s the new growth popping up out of the ground, a tree starting to bloom, or the seeds that are starting to germinate, there is certainly plenty to be happy about.

cut flower garden with dahlias and daisies in the summer

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I’m a self-taught hobby gardener, not a Master Gardener. Everything I share with you on my blog is my personal opinion and things that worked for me along the way.

summer garden with coneflowers

Now that the spring season is finally here, many projects need to be worked on so your summer garden thrives.

Here is the list of spring chores I will start working on.

cottage garden with birdhouse and waterview

1. Dividing and Transplanting Perennials

Did you know that dividing perennial plants in your garden not only keeps your plants healthy but can save you money as well?

There are so many benefits to dividing perennials in your garden.

  • Keeps plants healthy by giving them more space for the roots to grow and absorb both nutrients and water.
  • Manages the size of the plant and keeps it from overgrowing the space and crowding its neighbors.
  • Encourages perennials like irises to bloom.
  • Keeps the plant’s center from dying.
  • Creates additional plants that can be used in other spaces throughout your yard, which will save you money.
  • Stimulates new growth.
dahlias and greenhouse

2. Splitting Dahlias

Splitting your dahlias every spring is an important project for your summer garden.

Why It’s Important to Divide Your Dahlia Tubers?

Dahlias grow from tuberous roots and are easily propagated by digging them up and dividing the roots. This will not only encourage the plant to produce more blooms but it will be healthier in the long run by separating the healthy tubers from those that are diseased or rotted.

wheelbarrow full of mulch

3. Adding Mulch/Compost

The key to a successful garden starts before the first plant has even been placed into the ground. Having the right soil is important when preparing your garden beds.

I add fish compost to my garden beds every April to prepare the soil for the growing season.

layer of mulch added to raised bed

What is the difference between compost and mulch?

COMPOST:

  • Made up of decomposed and organic materials
  • Adds nutrients to the soil
  • Improves soil structure.
  • Enhances soil fertility

MULCH:

  • In most cases, mulch has not decomposed yet
  • Suppresses weeds
  • Prevents erosion
  • Retains soil moisture 

Find out more about preparing garden beds for the growing season.

spring view of crocuses and daylilies

4. Garden Clean-Up

Cut any spent perennials to the ground that were leftover from the winter.

Pick up all debris and larger leaves in your garden beds.

spring garden in front of greenhouse

5. Control Weeds

I don’t know about your garden but the weeds are already showing up just about everywhere over here.

Starting this spring project of keeping the weeds under control before they flower and go to seed will make a big difference in your summer garden. Mulch will also help to suppress weeds.

pink roses growing in front of the greenhouse

6. Protecting Your Garden from Deer

Deer are just so cute, aren’t they? That is…unless you are a gardener.

These animals love to eat certain flowers in the garden. So it’s important to start protecting plants as soon as they start growing. I use a deer repellant spray when there is no rain or wind.

Motion-activated sprinklers can also help with keeping deer out of the garden.

Unfortunately, this is not just a spring garden project but something you will have to keep up on throughout the summer and fall as well.

Plant more deer-resistant plants in your garden.

café au lait dahlia

7. Slug Maintenance

We see a lot of slugs here in the rainy Pacific Northwest. Eliminating their hiding places under leaves is the first step in controlling these pesky things.

I use slug bait regularly in my garden around the most susceptible plants such as dahlias, hostas, marigolds, and zinnias.

cutting back evergreen outdoor ferns

8. Cut Back Evergreen Outdoor Ferns

Ferns have fronds, rather than leaves, which last for only a year or so. The older fronds start to die back and turn brown while the new ones grow in.

Cutting off the old growth will refresh the plant and leave you with only beautiful new fronds.

Read more about how to cut back your garden ferns.

summer garden with pink cosmos

9. Pinch Back Annual Flowers

The practice of pinching is very important for summer flowering annuals that have a branching form.

Pinching encourages plants to produce more branches near the base, increasing the total number of flowering stems per plant and producing longer stems.

By snipping 3-4 inches off the tops of young plants when they are between 8-12 inches tall, it signals the plant to send up multiple stems from below where the cut was made. This will result in more flower production.

greenhouse with cut flower garden

10. Companion Planting

When growing a vegetable garden, it’s not always about which plants you grow. Being strategic about where you grow your plants and which ones you grow together can reward you with better growth and reduced pests.

Companion planting is the practice of growing different crops near each other for mutual benefit and keeping others separated so that they all thrive.

hardening off seedlings

11. Hardening Off Your Flowers Before Transplanting

If you’ve grown seedlings and plants indoors or in a greenhouse, or have overwintered plants, they will need to acclimate to the outdoor conditions before being transplanted to the garden.

This transition period is called hardening off. This is when you gradually expose the plants to outdoor elements such as rain, sun, and wind.

snapdragons growing up through netting in raised beds

12. Supporting Your Flowers

Providing strength and support for your taller and bulkier flowers from the rain, winds, and weight of their blooms is crucial in any garden.

You can choose from a variety of support methods for your plants.

  • Netting
  • Staking
  • Corralling
  • Trellising
  • Grow Through Supports
white cosmos in summer garden

Are you ready to start working on your spring garden projects? Trust me, it will benefit your summer garden so much and will be so worth the time you spend now.

If you have any questions or additional suggestions, feel free to share them in the comments below. And be sure to share this blog post link with anyone who may find these gardening tips useful.

Until next time,

Happy Spring Gardening!

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3 Comments

  1. When you say pinch back the sweet peas, do you mean all the way back to the dirt? I’ve got two flats of them inside still and they are growing great

    1. Hi Donnalynn! When the sweet pea seedlings grow 4-6 inches tall is when you can snip the tops off just above the leaf nodes. Leave 2-3 sets of leaves on the seedlings. Hope that answered your questions. I’m sharing a story on Instagram which I’ll highlight.

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