The long winter is nearing its end here in Alaska and spring is right around the corner. Finally! It’s time to get ready for a new season. This is my spring planning checklist to make sure that we don’t miss anything that needs to get done.
As the temperature begins to rise and the days grow longer, you can feel spring in the air here in Alaska. There’s still plenty of snow and below-freezing temperatures but the sunshine gets us excited for a new season to come.
I have spent a lot of time during the winter reading and planning for springtime. There is a lot that we want to accomplish each year and only a couple of months to do it. Spring and summer are pretty short here in Alaska so we fill our days with tasks and projects.
I like to make a list of what we need to plan on in every aspect of our little homestead: gardening, beekeeping, poultry, livestock, etc. Although the activities that we do here may differ from where you live and what you like to do, I hope this spring planning checklist gives you an idea of some of the many tasks that these endeavors require!
One of the first preparations for spring and summer is getting ready for a new gardening season. Seeds must be started towards the end of winter so there’s no time to waste. I need to know ahead of time what I plan to grow, what seeds and starts I need to purchase, and have time to get all of my pots and trays cleaned and ready.
A lot of work goes into growing a garden of food for your family and a lot of that work is in preparation of the growing season. There’s a lot to do until the plants finally make it into the ground and can start producing. Planning ahead helps me make sure that I don’t get behind so I can be ready to plant and care for the garden.
These are the tasks to get ready for gardening season:
- Go through seed collection and make note of varieties that need to be replenished
- Make a list of dates to start seeds by variety based on date of last frost
- Purchase any needed seeds
- Thoroughly wash all trays and starter pots
- Purchase seed starting soil
- Tidy up greenhouse and check that all lights are working
- For any varieties that are not being started with seeds, purchase starter plants from nursery
- After last frost, begin cleaning garden of debris from winter
After months of overwintering our bees and hoping that they survive the harsh winter, bringing them out in the spring is a very exciting time. Or if we are getting new colonies of bees, they usually arrive while there is still snow on the ground.
A lot of equipment gathers after several years of keeping bees so we have to keep it organized and in good condition. After we put the bees away for the winter, we make sure all of our equipment is properly put away as well. Come springtime, we need to make sure that our hive boxes, frames, and feeders are ready for the bees.
Here’s what needs to be done to get ready for bee season:
- Continue to check sugar feed level and refill as needed
- Prepare spot for hive boxes (shovel snow, lay wood ash)
- Make fresh copies of colony spreadsheets to start record keeping for new season
- Clean and have ready sugar feeders and waterers
- Scrape and clean hive boxes
- Repair, restain, or discard any damaged hive parts and replace as needed
- Organize frames, clean, and discard as needed
- Prepare for the arrival of any new colonies (have hive boxes and frames ready)
- Purchase plenty of sugar for feeding after hiving
- Clean out overwintering area of any dead bees, unplug all equipment, and store until next winter
- Prep honey extraction equipment for when needed
- Purchase any needed jars for honey
One of the most exciting spring events is chick season! Baby chicks, whether they are chickens, ducks, geese, or turkeys really remind us of the new season and new life after winter. Plus, there isn’t much else as cute as a sweet little chick!
Before we can bring them home, we have to get ready. We also need to transition our current birds to the new season and make sure they’re all healthy and happy after the long winter.
These are the tasks that need to be done for the birds:
- Decide number and type of chicks to add to the flock (chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, etc)
- Check availability and dates with local feed store to plan pick-up times
- Clean brooder box
- Purchase bedding
- Purchase chick feed
- Clean or purchase waterers and feeders
- Spring clean existing chicken coop (scoop out entirely, spray down with vinegar as needed)
- Make any repairs to coop structure (check walls, doors, windows, etc)
- Clean all equipment in coop (roost, nesting boxes, waterer, feeder, etc)
- Remove water heaters, clean, and store until next winter
- Add fresh bedding and put everything back in place
- Clean outdoor run of leftover debris
We have two dairy cows now, our milk cow and her heifer calf. They have overwintered very well but will be happy to be in the warm sunshine again. Not much changes for them during the seasonal shift but we have some chores to deal with so they can enjoy the beautiful weather.
These tasks might vary for other types of livestock, depending on what you keep. But these are some basic duties that need to be done:
- Completely clean out stalls from winter
- Lay fresh bedding
- Deep clean water trough and any feed/lick buckets
- Remove water heaters, clean, and store until next winter
- Check pasture fencing for any damage and repair as needed
- Inventory remaining hay and calculate what will need to be purchased during summer hay season
There’s so much going on during the spring and summer beyond farming tasks. We pick berries, can and preserve, hunt, fish, gather, and do other projects around our property while we have the chance. Here are a few extra areas that need our attention here:
- Wash berry picking pails to have ready
- Inventory and purchase any needed canning supplies (jars, lids, etc)
- Go through remaining produce, meat, and fish stored over winter and use up as needed
- Check all canned goods from the previous year for damage and use up as needed
- Prepare for fishing season (ready equipment, jars, and freezer bags for preserving)
- Make note of outdoor repairs/projects that need to be completed before next winter
Spring Planning Checklist
There’s so much to be done as winter ends and spring begins. There are so many different tasks that it can become overwhelming and some will be forgotten. Having a spring planning checklist will help organize these tasks in the hopes that most, if not all, will actually get done!
This is an exciting time of the year after a long winter. A new season with new possibilities. Planning ahead and being ready will make the seasonal transition smooth and the bounty even better.
You can print a copy your own copy HERE!