It may not feel like it most days but spring is in the air! It’s an exciting time for us east coast residents who are sick and tired of bundling up in layers and trudging through massive amounts of snow. The time is here where you can finally shop for your plants and begin the process of gardening once again. Plants of all sorts are such a great way to give your home character and really make it stand out from the rest of the homes on your street.
I found some great tips from the experts at Northscaping that will help ensure a successful start to the gardening season. Follow these simple tips for a long and enjoyable gardening experience this year.
1. Use compost to amend the planting soil
This is the key to starting healthy plants. You want your young plants to be provided with much needed nutrients which will establish good, strong roots.
2. Water just the right amount – not too much, not too little
Water young plants frequently, but don’t drown them! Too much water can actually hurt them. It’s better to give them a light soaking every day than to flood them once a week.
3. Gradually wean perennials off fertilizer
Fertilize perennials at planting. Many young plants have been grown in a greenhouse where nutrients are acquired through fertilization. It’s important to wean them off fertilizer until their roots are developed.
4. Continue feeding your annuals regularly
Annual plants in containers need regular feeding. Annuals are generally heavier feeders than perennials, especially in containers. Fertilize weekly with a half-strength soluble fertilizer mixture with a higher middle number to promote active root growth and flower production.
5. Don’t plant too early for your region
New plants are sensitive to frost and lower temperatures. Hardy perennials if hardened off can be planted as early as Mother’s Day in most parts of the North. For annuals, it best to wait until the first week of June, although hardier annuals and some vegetables can be planted as early as Memorial Day weekend. However, they should be covered if night temperatures are forecasted to fall below 36 – 40°F. This is a very important tip for us on the east coast, especially with the spring we are experiencing. It’s best to plan ahead and have everything ready but don’t get too excited to start digging in the dirt because it could be very detrimental to your garden’s success.
6. Give your plants just the amount of light they prefer
Plants require sunlight for photosynthesis, but not all plants are sun tolerant. Check the labels on all the plants you purchase to see if they are light specific. Planting in the wrong location can lead to poor performance and/or death of the plant.
7. Allow adequate growing space between perennials
Give shrubs and herbaceous perennials ample room to grow. Many require good air circulation to discourage the development of molds and fungi. As the plant grows, the space is reduced and the bed will look fuller. Allow room for growth and your plants will last a long time.
8. Plant annuals closer together for full effect
Plant annuals at half spacing for an earlier season of enjoyment. Reducing the spacing between plants will result in fuller plantings earlier in short growing seasons like we have in the North. It will also assist in the reduction of weeding and watering as moisture is less subject to evaporation and weed seeds cannot make contact with the ground.
9. Use colors to your advantage
Simple combinations of just one or two colors can make a powerful statement. Using only one color to establish a monochromatic scheme for your garden can help to adjust a mood. Cooler colors like blue or purple can make a sunny site more relaxed, whereas warmer colors such as yellow and orange can make a dark space more inviting.
10. Use larger quantities of fewer varieties
Plant masses of one or two plants to reduce maintenance times. In larger yards or wherever there is not enough time maintain a garden, grouping plants of one type and allowing them to grow together reduces the amount of water and the need for regular pruning.
I hope these tips from Northscaping have helped you in planning your spring gardening properly. Happy planting, growing and blooming!