Tips for a successful garden
Winter is coming, but now is a great time to plan for a new garden!
The most important step to any successful garden is planning. Often times, novice gardeners will wander around a greenhouse, filling their cart with items that look pretty. This technique might work, but sometimes the garden fails. A few things to keep in mind when purchasing plants:
Where will the plant go? Will it live in a pot, or is it being planted into the ground? Do you have potting soil for the flowerpots?
Is the garden ready for planting? Placing flowers into a bed that is infested with weeds or roots from weeds may cause the new plants to be choked out by dandelions, quack grass, clover or other noxious weeds. Spend time properly preparing the bed. Use a hand tool or even tiller if necessary to remove the entire weed – roots and leaves. Many weed roots, if left in the garden, will resprout and grow thicker than before. Using several layers of newspaper or cardboard can be a helpful tool for properly prepared beds. Laying the paper down and mulching over top will help keep the weeds at bay. Cut a small hole for your plant and freshen up the mulch around it if needed.
How much sun does the area receive? Be sure to watch your garden if you are not sure about the amount of sunlight it gets. Full sun means that the area receives more than six hours per day, while part sun means four to six hours of sun per day. Plants that like full shade will receive less than four hours of direct sunlight every day. Keep in mind, different areas in the same garden may have very different lighting requirements.
How is the soil? Very sandy soil will drain quickly and does not hold nutrients very well. Hard clay soil makes it a challenge for the plant roots to break through the tough conditions, if you have either of these soil types, consider adding some compost to the planting area. Compost can be turned into the soil, or even applied as a mulch.
What are your favorite colors? Opposite colors, such as purple and yellow, will really pop when planted near each other. Similar colors, such as shades of blue, lavender and soft pink will give the garden a feeling of serenity. Bold colors, like reds, oranges and yellows will create excitement.
With a little planning and preparation, your new flowers will thank you by putting on a stunning performance! Don’t forget to water. New plantings need at least 1” of water per week. As with most plants, morning watering is best. Avoiding getting the foliage wet but saturating the ground around the plants will help keep pests and disease away.
The Plant Lady is a regional horticulturalist with the goal of making Bluff Country more beautiful – one garden at a time. Follow her on Facebook @PlantLadyMn for helpful tips and tricks, or via email at ThePlantLadyMN@gmail.com.