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Getting garden ready

Preparing the ground for spring gardening involves several steps:

1. Clearing Debris: Remove any debris, such as fallen leaves, twigs, and dead plants, from the garden beds to create a clean workspace.

2. Weeding: Pull out any weeds that have emerged over the winter months to prevent them from competing with your plants for nutrients and water.

3. Soil Testing: Use a soil pH test kit to determine the acidity or alkalinity of your soil. Based on the results, you may need to amend the soil with lime to raise pH or sulfur to lower pH.

4. Amending Soil: Add organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, to improve soil structure, fertility, and drainage. Work the amendments into the top few inches of soil using a garden fork or shovel.

5. Aerating: If the soil is compacted, use a garden fork or aerator to loosen it up. Aerating the soil improves drainage, encourages root growth, and enhances nutrient uptake.

6. Leveling and Smoothing: Use a garden rake to level the soil surface and remove any bumps or depressions. This provides an even planting surface and ensures water is distributed evenly.

7. Mulching: Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as shredded bark or straw, to help retain moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature. Leave a small gap around the base of plants to prevent moisture-related issues.

By following these steps, you'll have a well-prepared ground ready for planting in the spring, providing an optimal environment for your garden to thrive.

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