Published on March 26th, 2009 | by Guest Contributor3
Growing Your Garden This Spring
Springtime already? Whether you are a city dweller or country farmer, now is the time to start growing the garden of your dreams. If you want dahlias come summertime, or a row of organic vegetables to feed the family, begin planting now. Before you know it, you will have a beautiful spring garden that is exploding with color, fragrance and natural bounty.
A little bit of upfront planning will give you plenty of opportunity to turn your garden dreams into reality.
Healthy soil for healthy plants
Healthy soil is the foundation of every beautiful garden, so a little bit of hands-on soil therapy should be on your agenda during any season of the year. To encourage plenty of healthy soil insects and microbes, dig in some organic matter once or twice a year and avoid toxic soil chemicals. Spring is a great time to do this, as most of your plants have not begun to grow full throttle just yet.
Apply compost to improve the quality of your soil. If you live in a city that offers compost bins, then this becomes a very easy exercise. Otherwise, you can compost yard waste in a compost bin.
Draw your garden plan
A good garden plan can help you save time, money and resources. You don’t have to be an artist, and all you really need is a basic sketch diagram to help you decide what to plant where, how to disperse color, and how to plan edible plants into the mix.
So take out your sketchpad and ask yourself these questions: Which part of the garden gets sun vs. shade? Where would you like to have trees or shrubs? Can you add a raised bed, a rock garden, a waterfall or a pond? Can you add a piece of topiary or a bench? Can you add a fruit tree or a hedge, an herb garden or a meandering path?
If you find yourself at a complete loss, don’t worry, since many garden centers also offer design services that you can take advantage of.
Mix it up
As with many other things in life, variety is the spice when it comes to your garden. Mixing things up helps retain the health of your soil, andalso makes things more interesting visually and aromatically. Consider flowering bulbs, daffodils that were potted last fall, and micro greens like Swiss or rainbow chard.
Try a splash of color
Designing your garden’s color palette can be one of the most fun things about gardening. Your local bookshop or library is filled with magazines that you can glance through for inspiration. Choose flowers ad colorful plants to match just about anything…your favorite garden umbrella fabric, or the table linen that you plan to use in your outdoor dining area.
Create an outdoor room
Think of your garden as an outdoor room where you can relax into the spring season with family and friends. Chances are that the more you put into planning and creating your garden, the more time you are going to want to spend there.
Spring garden tasks
- If you want your garden to bloom into a natural wonderland, there is plenty of work to be done. Here is a set of tasks to get you started:
- Prepare beds for planting by layering with compost, manure and organic ingredients like bone and kelp meals.
- Check the pH of the soil with a testing kit or meter from your local garden center. A pH of 6.5 is ideal for most plants. Consult a nursery professional if your soil pH is too high or too low for your plants.
- Start vegetable seeds indoors. Set larger seedlings outside towards early April. Begin planting annuals and perennials now.
- Prune early bloomers like azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons after they have finished flowering.
- Check seedlings and trees for signs of damage and aphids. Wash aphids from trees and shrubs using a strong water spray with a hose. Use a soap spray for aphids on smaller vegetables and flowers
- Hunt for snails and earwigs late at night (with a flashlight) if you see signs of damage from these pests.
- Fertilize plants and lawns with a slow release organic fertilizer.
There are plenty of online links and resources that can help you grow your garden this spring. Here are some of our favorites:
How to Plan a Spring Flower Garden will give you plenty of ideas for a garden filled with color.
The National Gardening Association will help you identify which plants are best suited for your geographic zone.
So consider unleashing your inner gardener this Spring. You might be surprised what you discover!