An Idiot's Guide to Spring Gardening
Spring is a busy time of year for gardeners, especially for those of us who didn’t do the hard work in the fall.
There’s dead plants to prune, dog poop to pick up and …. are you supposed to fertilize now? Most of us aren’t what you’d call ‘veteran gardeners’.
We have a few tulips scattered here and there; the grass is green in the summer. Usually. Sometimes. And if it’s a good year, we get lucky by not killing our perennials.
Lets face it, most of us could use a few tips this time of year to get off to the best start possible.
Jeff Davis from Davishill Nursery in Walkerton suggests heading to your local garden centre as your first stop.
These are professionals who grow their own plants and have lots of insight into what grows well, where.
They also know what plants are native to your particular growing region (even if you don’t have a clue what growing region you’re in).
Despite all of the knowledgeable staff there to help you, garden centres can still be intimidating.
There are so many colourful varieties of flowers but you need to know which are annuals (have to replant every spring) and which are perennials (grow back each spring).
You have to consider sun vs shade; heavy soil vs well drained; low maintenance vs plants that require particular TLC.
Here are a few tips to get you started ~
Tip 1 – Bring in a photo
Bring a photo of either your garden or the garden you’d like to have. This will assist staff at the garden centre in knowing which direction to take you. It also helps to get ideas flowing and will help you look like a pro when your project is complete.
Tip 2 – Mulch is your friend
There are many different kinds of mulch in an array of textures and colours. It’s all good to help keep weeds down, moisture locked in and helps your garden appear tidy and clean. A light application in the spring will turn any garden into a fresh, updated space ready to take on the summer.
Tip 3- Know what you can handle.
It’s easy for novice gardeners to set themselves up for heartache by being too ambitious, especially if this is your first attempt at a green thumb. If you’ve never gardened before and you want mint for your mojitos…that’s a great place to start. If you’re extremely busy during the hottest months of the season or you have a tendency to forget to water…you’ll want to go with something like succulents which are extremely low maintenance and easy to take care of. There are always plants for any level.
Tip 4 – Fertilizer
The difference between ‘meh’ and ‘AMAZEBALLS’. A really good tip for regular fertilizing is to pick a day and stick with it. Maybe Fertilizer Fridays? Pour yourself a gin and tonic after work and go around feeding all of your pots as a sort of ‘positive reinforcement’ for doing a good thing for your garden.
Here a few more quick and easy garden hacks for any level green thumb.
Make large potted plants a little lighter to move around the patio by filling the bottom half of the pot with packing peanuts – those little styrofoam worms you can purchase from the post office or any office supply store. Put a piece of landscaping fabric on top then layer on your potting soil.
Spray your garden shovel with a silicone or Teflon lubricant to make shoveling a breeze. A good coat of spray will make any type of soil slip right off the shovel without the mess.
Prevent invasive plants from taking over your garden by planting them in a plastic container before you pop them in the garden to make sure their roots don’t crowd out your entire patch. Make sure you cut out the bottom of the container so the roots can grow down…instead of out.
The best tip however is to have fun and try things. You may make a few mistakes along the way. Your Zebra Ornamental Grass may crowd out your neighbour’s driveway after year two in the ground or the Periwinkle patch you planted next to the herb garden might take over….but you’ll learn. You’ll dig things up. You’ll move them around. You’ll get over excited when the garden centres open and buy one of everything…but you will learn.
Enjoy your time with your hands in the dirt and soon enough your neighbours will be coming to you for advice on what to do with that darn fern that’s just hating the sunny spot next to their porch.
Below ~ NOT a beginners garden but something to aspire to?
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