Most gardeners have been out in the garden for several weeks already, but anytime this month is a great time to start incorporating soil amendments, sowing seeds and putting in transplants. The soil is dry enough to be worked without compacting it, the air is warm enough to enjoy working outside, and the soil temperature is ideal for germinating all kinds of seeds and getting transplants growing well. In short, it’s garden time!
Don’t fret about finding a suitable plot in your backyard, simply start a container garden anywhere you’d like. Plus this way you can ensure the soil is fertile and easily prevent weeds! You’ll be more likely to follow through with your gardening if your container garden is near your back door or a window you use often. First, start small, then work your way up to a bigger garden.
Solid Soil and Dependable Drainage
Make sure your container has good soil and drainage, which means plenty of compost! After all, all experts say, a gardener with no compost is no gardener at all. Composting is easy, just save your food waste, especially egg shells, coffee grinds, and apple cores! Creating good drainage is also very manageable. Ensure that your container garden has holes in the bottom, and then line the bottom of the container with a layer of rocks.
Some plants are shade plants, others need sun, and yet even more plants are partial shade or sun! Don’t overlook that part of your plant’s description! Place your container garden on wheels or a trolley, so you can move it around in the event your selected spot doesn’t get as much sunlight as you originally thought.
Timing and Type
If you want to succeed in your garden you need to plant the right type of plants, at the right time. You can check both at the United States Department of Agriculture’s plant hardiness zone map. When you’ve confirmed that your plants will grow in your zone, make sure you plant them at the right time of year! Be sure to also check the seed’s information, it will likely be spring or summer.
The Perfect Plants for Beginners
Some plants are just known to be easier to grow than others- plant these! For easy-to-grow produce, Hometalk’s gardening experts recommend tomatoes, peppers, onions, chard, basil, and bush beans. Easy to grow and maintain flowers include clematis(a vine), sunflowers, dahlia’s, foxglove, roses, petunia and black-eyed susans. Just ask your local plant nursery employee to direct you to the “hardy” plants.
Make sure you give young plants plenty of water, but always avoid wetting the plant’s leaves! Wet leaves can easily lead to mold, rot, and a sick plant! As your sprouts grow, remember that the general rule of thumb is to give plants an inch of water per week. If you keep the garden close to your house, popping outside to give your plants some water will hardly seem like any effort at all. Be on the look-out for yellow leaves that means too much water!
Make organic choices with your soil, fertilizing, pest control, and even seed selection. Heirloom produce plants taste much better than mainstream varieties. Plants that are fertilized or treated with chemicals can become weak and prone to disease.
Trim and Prune
Trimming and pruning your plants allows for increased air circulation and fewer leaves for you to spill water on (Don’t wet the leaves! See #6!).
Lighten Those Heavy Pots
Take the strain out of lifting large planters and pots by filling the pot one-third to one-half full with packing peanuts. Be sure to place a piece of landscape fabric on top of the packing peanuts and then layer on your potting soil. To reduce the weight of the pot further, use a potting mix with lots of vermiculite and peat moss.
Restrict An Aggressive Plant
Prevent plants such as gooseneck loosestrife from taking over your garden by planting them in a plastic container. To ensure that these plants’ underground roots don’t quickly crowd your entire garden, cut out the bottom of with a knife—the roots can grow directly down into the soil.
When planting roses, pruning is crucial to keep the center of the flower open, so sunshine can shine in. Careful pruning will keep the moisture out and will prevent black spots and other blights from forming.
Create A No-Stick Shovel
Spray your favorite garden shovel with a silicone or Teflon lubricant to make shoveling a breeze. A good coating of this spray will make any type of soil slip right off the shovel without a mess.
If you’d like more information on the San Fernando Valley or Los Angeles, or to have help looking for your next home, please feel free to reach out! I’m happy to help, no obligation.