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Planning it out
Draw a diagram of the areas available for planting in your garden so you can get a realistic idea of the space available. It's easy to get carried away at the gardening centre and come home with dozens of packets of seeds.
You may also wish to draw up a schedule telling you when to plant each variety, to save constantly referring to the back of each seed packet.
Try to bear the passage of the sun across your garden in mind. Different varieties prefer different proportions of sun and shade.
Do the groundwork
When the ground gets softer you can head outside and dig over any beds which require it - perhaps digging in compost from your heap or leaf mulch you have stockpiled.
The early part of spring is a great time to get pruning and tidy up your existing plants and shrubs - before they start growing too vigorously.
When pruning, cut back to an outward-facing bud so that new growth goes out from the plant.
Remove old flowers from existing plants as well as cutting back shrubs. Also clean up your greenhouse if you have one.
Divide and rule
Spring is also a good time to divide perennial plants, giving the new division plenty of time to establish itself as the weather improves.
Follow directions for individual varieties, but generally you need to dig up the entire plant and cut the base into two clumps.
You can start some of your seedlings off indoors if you have the space and inclination, which will give you a headstart when the weather warms up properly.
Check the backs of packets carefully because not all varieties appreciate being transplanted.
It's a good idea to "harden off" your seedlings if you have a semi-enclosed area such as a porch you could leave them in.
Try to keep on top of weeding as spring progresses - otherwise it can become difficult to tell your seedlings from weeds.
Also keep an eye on the weather and be prepared to protect vulnerable plants with fleece if a frost or snow is forecast.
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