Planning Your Spring Garden

February is the time to think about your spring gardening. To begin, you should plan your garden. A piece of graph paper and a pencil are all you need to start. Draw a diagram of your garden. Lay it out so it accurately reflects all planting areas. Once you have completed your diagram, bundle up and walk around your garden area to see what is there and to note the empty spaces. Consider past experiences: What worked in your garden? What didn’t? Consider removing plants that don’t do well in your garden and replace them with ones that will.

Vegetable Garden (ssyredboots | morgueFile.com)

Put all this information on your garden plan. It is a good idea to keep a record of each year’s garden. It helps you in planting the following year. This is especially true of vegetable gardens. You will want to rotate your vegetables to other parts of the garden for best results. Take a “before” picture of your garden so that you can admire the “after” results.

Butterfly (earl53 | morgueFile.com)

Photo credit: earl53 | morgueFile.com

Once you have a diagram, you are ready to select what will go into your spring garden. Think about what kind of garden you want to have. Is your garden shady, sunny or perhaps both? Do you want vibrant colors? Are you interested in attracting butterflies or hummingbirds? All these questions should be considered in planning your space. Remember if you want blooms until fall, you need to plant accordingly. Now comes the next step – selecting seeds, bulbs and plants.

Seed catalogs abound on the internet and order forms can also be found in gardening magazines. You can order seeds for starting plants inside and transplant seedlings into the garden when the danger of frost is gone. Many varieties that are available in seeds are not available as plants in your local nursery and seeds are cheaper than live plants.

You can also order a variety of live plants and bulbs from catalogs and garden centers. Summer flowering bulbs such as gladiolas and daylilies can be purchased now for spring planting. Keep them inside and plant them once there is no danger of frost. If you took bulbs inside for the winter, go through them before planting. If any seem soft, toss them. Also, look for signs of mold and disease and discard any affected bulbs.

Another option for bedding plants is cuttings from indoor plants. Coleus, which comes in a variety of colors and shapes, is a common house plant. Take several cuttings and root them in a container filled with water. They will thrive in your flowerbed.

Once you’ve made your seed choices, order them and be ready to plant them upon arrival. Make sure that the containers you use allow for drainage of excess water from the bottom so they do not stay too wet.

Soil-less mixes make a better planting medium for seeds because there is no risk of contamination from weed seeds or bacteria, both of which you would find in soil. Make sure the seeds have sufficient light for germination. Also, keep the seeds in an area where the temperature is at least 50 degrees. Enjoy watching your seeds germinate and grow for the next several weeks.

The ideal garden consists of many things: color placement, variety and longevity make for seasons of delightful viewing and enjoyment of your garden. Plan it now and enjoy the results!

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