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Spring Planting Tips

Weed It

Pulling out all your weeds now will reduce your weeding time later. Weeds are smaller and easier to pull out during the early Spring season. Remember, each weed pulled out now can prevent 100 weeds later. Your soil should end up soft and loose. Also, most plants don’t like to grow in clay. Plants’ roots need air pockets and space to grow, and clay does not have air in it.

Prep Soil

Good soil is always the most important factor for a thriving garden. Topdress your soil with a good quality compost. It enriches the soil with nutrients and makes it better for roots to grow. The earthworms will rise to the surface, aerating your soil further down. If your soil is pure clay, dig the compost down to a level of 1-½ feet. A good compost should have chicken or cow manure in it as well as mushroom compost. Bagged compost is mostly wood products and sand, and has very little nutrition.

Lighting

While weeding and preparing the soil, watch the light in your garden. Full sun generally means at least 4 hours of direct sun a day. Keep in mind as the days get longer, partly shady areas may get lots more hours of sun later. Learn about the light in your garden – it pays off when you’re ready to plant.

Buying your plants

Always try to buy your plants small. The smaller the better, as long as the roots reach the bottom of the pot. It is suggested to not buy plants already in bloom. Plants already blooming in a container are stunted, have used up some of their bloom time and will never put on the show that a small, non-blooming plant will. The smaller plant will grow thick roots, grow much faster, bloom much longer and will be much healthier.

It looks better when you plant in groups of 3-5-7 etc. One blooming, self-sowing annual this year will give you 10 or more self-sown seedlings next year.

Plant some chunky grasses

Flowering annuals and perennials look best when there’s something solid and chunky to give your eye a rest. Chunky grasses make the bloomers stand out more, and they’re long-lived and easy to care for. Grasses should be cut back in November-December to about 8” tall to keep them looking their best in the Spring.

Watering

One of the best reasons to plant during the wet Spring season is the joy of no watering. Plants put down big roots with the deep watering the rains provide. But if we hit a dry spell in Spring, you’ll probably have to water.

Deadheading

You can greatly extend the blooming time of all your Spring blooming annuals by removing the faded blooms. Using clippers or little scissors to cut long-stemmed flowers back to the main stem or base looks best. If you want your plants to self-sow, let the last of the flowers go to seed and drop where they may.

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