It might seem strange to start planning your spring garden now. After all, it's only February. The days are still short, the temperatures are still frigid, and the first azalea has yet to bloom. But, as most seasoned Wilmingtonians know, spring is a season that tends to sneak up on us. If we want to make most of this brief and beautiful time of year, being prepared is key.

One of the ways you can make sure you're read and raring to go the second spring arrives is by taking this time to plan and prep your gardens. To help you out, we've collected three things you can do today to make sure your yard and garden beds are ready for vegetables, herbs, flowers, and all the other wonderful plants that make spring such an exciting time.

1. Get your soil ready.

You should prepare your soil as early as possible. Start by tilling your garden beds around 8 to 12 inches below the surface. Remove rocks, debris, and stubborn roots. Add organic matter and fertilizer next - this will feed the soil with nutrients, so when it's time to plan your seeds will have a healthy home that provides everything they need. If you've weeds take over your garden during the cold winter months, now is the time to get rid of them!

2. Start a compost pile.

Why buy expensive compost when you can easily make it yourself? There are many different ways to build and maintain a compost heap, but we like to keep it simple. Stake out a tucked away corner of your hard, and place large bucket or store-bought composter there. Then, add your kitchen and garden waste, including such common household items like coffee grounds, egg shells, vegetable peelings, and grass clippings. Compost usually takes three to six months before you can use it on your garden, so if you start it now it will be ready by the time summer rolls around!

3. Repair, mend, and build.

Winter can be rough on your yard and garden. Because we don't spend much time outside, our outside spaces can easily become neglected. Now that the weather is beginning to warm up, take some time to repair your garden beds, fences, and trellises. Replace wood that is rotted or broken, and fortify fencing that may have become loose or begun to lean. Late winter is a great time to do these tasks in particular, because you'll have more room to move around and don't have to worry about disturbing your beautiful plants.

We hope these tips have inspired you to head out to your yard and garden and start laying down the foundation for a beautiful spring. For more outdoor inspiration, follow Network Real Estate on Pinterest and Twitter, where we regularly share our favorite tips and photos. Happy gardening!