Are you excited about having a lush garden full of colorful blooms and fresh produce come spring, but don’t know when and how to start? The secret is to not wait until February to get moving.

That beautiful landscaping you see in front of other homes likely got its start the previous year. To get your ground game established, prepare your garden in fall and winter. A personal loan from loanDepot can be your seed money to have a flourishing landscape when the weather warms up again.

Use this quick guide to learn how to garden and care for your landscaping needs now.

Make your bed

When it comes to readying your garden in fall and winter, making your bed takes on a completely different meaning. In this case, it’s all about testing for drainage issues and setting up your soil for planting. Preparing your flower and vegetable beds now can enrich the soil, get rid of old root systems and determine where problems lie before they stunt your plants’ growth.

First, choose a good spot. Vegetables need lots of sun, and veggies and flowers need protection against elements like wind. It takes a little digging before you grasp your soil composition. Plant beds will struggle in heavy clay. If that is a reality where you live, you may need to rent equipment to dig out some of the clay and give yourself a deep bed with fresh mulch or compost. Buried construction debris ─ nails, wood, broken concrete ─ from years ago can push toward the surface and undermine your plants.

To test your drainage, dig a hole a foot deep and fill it halfway with water. If it drains in less than five minutes, your plants should be fine. Any longer, and that may present problems such as damaging root systems throughout the year. This is another way to test for clay or other dense materials.

Eliminate existing vegetation

When you create a new flowerbed or vegetable patch, clear existing vegetation. An organic way to help with this process is to blanket the soil with several layers of newspaper and cover the paper with a few inches of soil.

Over the fall and winter months, the layers of newspaper will block out any sunlight from reaching the soil, killing the vegetation. As an added benefit, the newspaper will decompose, providing a nice layer of compost that can be turned over into the soil.

Till your soil

Once the existing vegetation dies and the newspaper turns to compost, you can turn the bed over. A tiller works, as does a shovel or garden fork. When tilling for the first time, avoid turning completely dry soil. Keep soil damp, but not too wet or soaked with water. The key here is to find a healthy balance of damp enough to turn over a section of soil that looks moist ─ without dripping water or causing soil to stick to your tools.

Remember, turning the soil could cause buried weed seeds to germinate, which is not good for your future garden. You can control this growth by applying a layer of mulch over the freshly tilled bed. 

Plan for your wonder garden

Depending on the size of your yard and how large a landscaping project you hope to complete the next few seasons, you could end up spending a decent amount of money on preparation in the fall and winter. It’s possible to achieve the yard of your dreams. It just requires financial planning. You can develop a budget and a savings plan in order to fund the landscaping you want.

A personal loan from loanDepot can help expedite the process to help you get the cash now so you can start enjoying the fruits of your labor and a beautiful yard.

Updated September 3, 2018


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