Regardless of where you live, knowing how to kick-start your garden can be tricky. How do you prepare your garden bed for plants? How do you know if it’s too soon or too late in the season to plant them outside? Are there any natural alternatives to using fertilizers and pesticides? Here are a few tips and tricks to make sure you get going on the right foot.
Getting Your Garden Ready for Planting
To start off, you’ll want to remove any leaves, branches, dead plants or other materials from the soil. After it’s cleared, you should start weeding. If you have a lot of weeds, you might want to use a rototiller or garden weasel to turn over the top layer of soil.
If you want to use any sprays to kill weeds or insects, now is the time to do so. Since conventional pesticides and weed killers may introduce chemicals to your garden and can be harmful to the environment, here are a few natural alternatives:
- To eliminate weeds, use a combination of white vinegar and water, and spray it over the weeds before planting anything new.
- To keep snails and other pests away, try putting copper rings around plants or spreading coffee grounds throughout the garden.
- For a natural fertilizer, coffee grounds and composted tea leaves can have amazing benefits for the soil and the growth of your plants.
Plants and the Changing Seasons
Plants and flowers native to your area are already adapted to that environment. This means if you live in an area with cooler nights, less intense sunlight and a lot of rain, your plants are (more or less) well equipped to handle it.
Use the Pollinator Partnership website to find the right plants for your climate! The website also features information about their app, BeeSmart Pollinator Gardener, which allows you to search for plants native to your area and filter based on bloom period, flower color, type of plant, etc.
Why is it important to choose native plants or flowers? Growing plants that are not native to your environment can alter the chemistry of your soil, making it difficult to grow other plants and flowers. These plants also encourage the growth of weeds, and can cause negative side effects to the plants and animals in the surrounding area.
What to Plant During Spring
There are a lot of spring-blooming plants that you’ll see flowering around this time of year, but they were planted during the fall. If you’re doing your gardening now, you’ll want to choose summer- and fall-blooming flowers and plants.
If you’re using the Pollinator Partnership app, try searching by bloom period. This makes it really easy to ensure you’re getting the right flowers and plants for your climate and for the time of year.
There’s no shortage of things you can do to enhance the growth of your garden. Once you understand the routine and which plants are well adapted to your climate, it’s not too challenging to care for your plants. How do you get your garden going every year?