Spring is supposedly here, although in NY/NJ it’s hard to tell with the 40 degree temperatures in the morning. Still, some of us have been out there, doing some planting and today I’m sharing some tips.
1. DO NOT LISTEN TO JOHN ELLIOTT ON CBS. I love you John, but you steered me wrong a few weeks ago when you said the plants would be fine outside. Sigh.
Okay, the real first tip is:
1. Don’t rush putting out the plants. Recommended planting date for the Northeast is Memorial Day. You could push it and do Mother’s Day if the weather has been warm for at least two weeks or so.
2. Clean out old leaves and other debris from your beds and pots.
3. Work the soil and loosen it up so you can get some nice aeration for those roots. Add compost or other organic matter and/or fertilizer to enrich the soil. I also work in some cinnamon into the top 2 to 3 layers to avoid fungus gnats. The cinnamon kills the fungus the gnats need to eat to survive. Organic, too!
4. If you’re a beginning gardener, make sure to check out the areas where you wish to plant. Does the area get full sun or is it in shade? Morning sun or afternoon? Once you’ve done that, it’s time to pick some plants.
5. There are lots of plants that can handle colder spring weather. Pansies for one and I love them! Also some other favorites like dianthus and petunias. You can click here for a good list of plants that can take a little cold. You can also plant bulbs the fall before for spring color and then work in annuals once the bulbs are done flowering.
6. Head to the garden shop and pick out the plants. Check their little tags for info on how high they’ll grow, how far apart and sun and water requirements.
7. Time to plant. To make life easier, lay out the pots in the way you want to plant them. It will let you adjust before getting things into the ground. Once you’re satisfied, it’s time to plant.
8. The best time to plant is early morning before the sun is too strong or later afternoon. Planting during the heat of the day will stress out your plants. Make sure the hole you dig is at least 4-6 inches depending on the size of your plant. Also, if there are too many roots around the base of the post, break them up so new roots will grow and spread out. Get rid of those jiffy pots around the plant and flatten them to use as mulch.
9. Water thoroughly so the roots can get established and after watering, mulch around the plants. Leave a little room around the plant free of mulch so it won’t rot and try to get at least 2 to 3 inches of mulch to prevent weeds.
10. Sit back and watch them grow and flower.
Here’s a photo of my daughter’s first garden. We planted it in early April when we had a fabulous spring day. It was fun explaining to her what to do and I gifted her an assortment of daylilies from my yard so she wouldn’t have to replant the entire bed every year.