The snow has melted, the sun is strong and the buds are blooming…Spring has sprung! With a few good tools, a little elbow ‘dirt’, and some helpful tips below, you’ll be set to spring into your planting action plan!
Remove dead plants
Before planting those flowers or bushes, first remove any dead plants from the ground. How do you know if your plants are dead or just damaged? These tips can help assess the damage winter may have inflicted. Some helpful hints for testing your plant’s vital signs include:
- bending the stem around your finger. If the stem breaks, the plant is dead.
- examine the color of your plant. If it appears black or brown, test its viability by pressing the discolored parts between your thumb and forefinger. If it crumbles, it’s dead.
Prepare your soil
Once unwanted plants are removed, the soil should be restored to enhance its fertility. To get this process started, Mother Earth News suggests laying down a half-inch to full inch layer of compost over your garden bed. After some watering, be sure to loosen up soil and newly laid compost to ensure the soil has an opportunity to dry out.
What to plant?
Choose vegetable plants known to have a higher tolerance for the direct light and heat of the summer sun. Some of these veggies that can beat the heat include corn, cucumber, melons and tomatoes.
For a colorful flowerbed, try planting pansies, lilies or lilac which bloom in full sun and moist or well-drained soil.
To ensure your plants flourish the natural way, be sure to follow organic methods which include using a DIY pesticide and companion planting. This means planting flowers, such as marigolds and petunias, to keep nematodes (a destructive worm) at bay. These are great choices to add to your rose garden to prevent pests and create a more colorful display.
Don’t forget your shady spots! There are a variety of lovely perennials, such a Bleeding Hearts, Hostas, Ivy and Hydrangeas (to name only a few) that thrive in less sunny areas.
And remember, landscaping doesn’t only add beauty to your home, it can also improve your home’s comfort and lower your energy bills! Solar heat absorbed through windows and roofs can increase cooling costs. Incorporating shade from landscaping elements can help reduce this solar heat gain. Shading from trees can reduce surrounding air temperatures as much as 6° F.
Check out this Department of Energy infographic for some great information.