What Month Should You Start A Garden

This winter weather has gardeners itching to get into the dirt and start digging. However, for those who need a few tips on when they can safely start planting their veggies for spring and summer, there may be a little hesitation. Let’s toss that hesitation out the window with a few simple pointers and help build the excitement to get started!

With weather changes that we have experienced the last few years, even some seasoned gardeners find themselves wondering the same thing this time of year, “When should I start my garden?” Usually, this question comes to mind when the winter weather is cold, wet, and gray.

Most of us know from experience that it’s still too early, but the urge to start getting those garden goodies definitely has its grip on us. Our souls ache for that warmth, sun, and green sprouts poking up through the dirt. Planting too early is a waste of time and money, so this is the time that we need to take to start preparing ourselves for the planting season to come.

When to Start Planting

Knowing the right time to start planting is completely dependent on knowing your own area. It is important to research when your area will experience the last expected frost date, which is a huge variable when you are looking for advice on when to start your garden.

The last expected frost date is a probability-based estimate that is determined by historical data, so it’s pretty much just the best guess and not always completely accurate, so watch your local weather carefully. Just because it is the last estimated frost date does not mean you will not experience a frost after that date.

Check Your Seed Packets

Every plant has its own quirks so it is important to check your seed packets for more information about each plant. A great example of this is peas. They are so easy to grow and delicious raw and cooked. Peas should be started 4 to 6 weeks before the last spring frost date because they require that frost to grow successfully so 4 to 6 weeks before the last spring frost is the earliest peas should be planted. This is the same approximate date that radishes and carrots can be planted as well.

Other plants, such as peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, and squash should be planted when there is no longer the danger of a frost happening because a frost can damage the seeds. Because of this, the information on the back of your seed packet can be your best friend when determining when to plant each item in your garden.

Shorter Growing Seasons

Gardeners with a shorter growing season, which is typically gardeners in the north, may have to plant their spring and summer plants closer together to ensure that summer crops have plenty of time to grow and mature. Most spring plants are leaves and roots, while summer plants are typically fruits. Since fruits take longer to develop to their edible stage, you will want to plant them midway through the spring season.

Preparing the Ground for Planting Summer Crops Early

Gardeners with a shorter growing season should take time to prepare the ground for the early planting of their summer vegetables. To do this, you should utilize row cover cloth to protect your summer plants during the stray cold, or cooler nights because they could cause a significant amount of damage to your plants. Not only can it protect your plants during the early stages of growth, but it can also protect them as the growing season comes to a close and the nights get cooler.

What About Seed Starter Kits

Seed starter kits are a great option for beginners who are learning about their last spring frost, but even in seed starting kits, it is important to estimate the start date as close as possible. At some point, your plants will need to be transplanted and if you started them too early, the leaves could be damaged by cooler weather.

Learn your Planting Zone

A planting zone is an area you can find on a map growing zone map. These outline what plants are most likely to thrive in your area and can help you determine what plants to put in your garden each year. There are 13 different hardiness zones by the USDA, the map can be found online and on the back of your seed packets. There is an approximate 10-degree temperature difference between zones and the planting recommendations correspond with the estimated last spring frost.

The USDA planting zones allow you to develop an understanding of the zone you live in so you can focus your time, attention, and money on plants that have the best chance of surviving the weather patterns in your area.

Happy Gardening

While learning about your zone may sound intimidating, once you take the time to understand the basics of your area, you will feel less intimidated by your planting season. You will also be less confused by a lot of information you find during your research of different popular plants.

Flower Gardening Tips For Beginners

Do you love flowers? Are you searching for tips and practical ideas for flower gardening?
Then, you’re on the right track.

As a beginner setting up a flower garden is a tricky thing. Gardening is a wonderful and rewarding hobby that anyone can have in their lifetime.
Gardening makes one a happier person, and also it provides a lot of benefits, both mental and physical. To young adults, it works as a relaxant therapy to reduce stresses like future anxiety, studies, income, etc. To the old aged, flower gardening can be the best activity they can do in their leisure time to keep them occupied and happy.

So, if you’re planning to start your flower garden, then I have got you covered. In this article, I will provide you with some amazing pro tips, guides, and advice that will assist you in making your dream of having a garden come to reality. Let’s dive in.

Essentials You Need To Have Before You Start a Flower Garden

You don’t require complex tools to start—simple tools like a trowel, fork, and a nice sunhat to cover you from the sun. You also require a gardening cart to use when transferring your potted plants.

To pilot, you will have to purchase potted plants and seedlings from nurseries or garden stores. Below are the tips.

1. Plant close to the water

Setting up your garden close to a water source is one of the top tips you should always have in mind. Ensure that you can run a hosepipe to your new garden site, which makes work easier when you want to water your flowers when they get thirsty. The proven way to tell if your plants need to be watered is to push your finger an inch deep into the soil. When you feel it’s dry, it’s time to water.

2. Pests

Pests can be harmful creatures to your garden. If you spot holes in leaves and half-eaten edges, then some insects have started destroying the garden. It’s time to take necessary precautions. I prefer using organic methods to get rid of the harmful insects.

3. Perennials and Annuals

When it comes to a flower garden, annuals and perennials are the basic flowering plants. Annuals tend to go through a complete life cycle in one growing season, right from seed sprouting, growing roots, and leaves, producing flowers, making seeds and dying. Most gardeners like them because, with proper care, they sprout their heads off throughout the season.

Perennials can be defined as plants whose roots systems survive underground for a number of years.

You may be wondering which is better?

The two are good. Annuals are ideal for places where you intend to plant a lot of flowers; usually, they need more fertilizing, watering, and other cares. Perennials require less care as compared to annuals.

4. Cost of Labor

You’ll need to figure out how much it’s going to cost, especially if you’re planting a lot of flowers, you’ll need to outsource labor. Most flowers, like annuals, require regular fertilizing and watering. You need workers to deadhead and prune off the dried-up blooms to allow the plant to flower more. Also, perennials are not totally carefree, but that depends on the soil, climate, and species, they also require some fertilizing and watering apart from the native ones.

5. The Right Place to Plant

Many people, including me, fall in love with the flower depending on its looks alone, without asking ourselves if we can offer what it needs. To succeed in both the perennials and annuals, you must figure out a couple of things like the kind of soil, amount of labor, the kind of site, and how close is the water source or hose. Then search for a plant that will fit.

6. The shade

Naturally, if you have less sunlight, then you’ll get fewer blooms. In too much shade, the flowering plants will produce leaves with no blooms. But some species of perennials and annuals can bloom in less than nine hours a day of sunlight, but you will have to seek them out. When purchasing plants, always read labels carefully, seed packets, and catalog descriptions.

7. Choosing a Sunny Location

Before planting, choose a strategic area with a proper amount of sunlight for your garden. Most flowers require plenty of natural light to grow, so observe the area you intend to put your garden for a few days to establish whether or not it receives adequate sunlight throughout the day. If it does, it will be a good spot for growing your flowers. If not, you may need to consider relocating the garden to another better location where there is the sun.

8. Mix The Soil for better drainage

First, plan your drainage system before planting flowers. Drainage is essential to successful gardening. Without a good drainage system, flowers and plants can become waterlogged or get root rot. Typically, root rot kills plants quickly and can easily spread to other plants. If your garden is in an area with a lot of water and holds moisture, plant flowers compatible with that area. Because they will stay well hydrated and will help stop root rot. You can also raise your garden higher to improve the drainage.

One gardening tip to solve poor drainage issues is mixing your soil with components that prevent clumping and boost drainage. If the soil gets too wet, it can clump together and cause a mess. Mixing your soil with sand, compost, mulch, and volcanic rock like vermiculite can help your soil remain fluffy loose, which will boost good drainage.

9. Give The Flowers Plenty Time To Grow

Most people, including gardeners, tend to overlook this flower gardening hack. You should offer your plants ample space to grow in the flower garden. However, planting flowers too close together can result in poor air circulation, leading to fungal diseases. Before you plan to plant flowers, it’s advisable to research the right spacing for each type.

Conclusion

If you follow those tips, you’ll be like a pro in planting flowers, and you’ll reap big.

How Do You Start A Simple Vegetable Garden?

Vegetable Garden

5 Simple Tips to Start a Simple Vegetable Garden

Are you looking to start a simple garden in your home? At the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, people were confined at home due to restrictions and quarantine. Sitting at home idle can be very daunting and would make someone very lazy.

It is advisable to pick up some new hobbies when indoor such as doing an unusual gardening activity. Furthermore, gardening helps you to plant your vegetables for domestic use for food security. As food continue to become scarce and the supermarket’s shelves are emptying, increase your domestic food production by starting a simple garden.

Food from your garden is also very fresh. It is much better than vegetables you get from the shopping centers that have to travel for several kilometers to reach your region for you to purchase and use them. Therefore, a garden is eco-friendly and doesn’t rely on chemicals such as pesticides and synthetic chemicals dangerous to the environment.

A garden with fruits is invaluable because of health-related benefits. Health doctors recommend that a person should eat fresh fruits daily. Having fresh fruits next to your house will allow you to get them more often and use them for your meals and general eating.

As you work on your garden, you are also exercising. Taking 2 to 3 hours a day to work on your garden is enough to burn many calories you may have gained over this long period of staying at home. You don’t have to join other people in the park to become fit and shape your muscles when you have a garden in your home.

Gardening is also therapeutic to children and any other person who will feel the sweet fragrance of the fruits and the flowers that will grow in them. There are many more reasons you should start a simple garden today. Here, find out the five simple tips to help you begin gardening immediately and relish all these benefits.

1. Remove Grass on Your Garden

To establish a new garden, you first have to let go of some portion of your lawn. You will use this part as your garden and beginners to make it small since you will be increasing the size soon as you succeed in establishing the garden. Also, a small garden is easy to till.

After getting the parcel you want, mark it for grass removal. Some people use chemicals to kill grass on the ground, but this is not the better option since they are harmful. Here are some of the organic methods you can use to remove grass effectively.

• Sheet mulching

Laying down material such as a newspaper or unwaxed cardboard on top of the grass smothers the grass. The process is prolonged but instrumental.

• Solarization

Real on heat from the sun to bake the grass. Cover the grass with plastic after dampening with water. The process takes about four weeks.

• Manual removal

It is tedious, but it is a beneficial exercise. You may only need a day or two to finish the grass you want to remove using a sharp spade.

2. Check Your Garden Soil

The soil solely dictates the success of your garden. Equally important, plants have an optimal type of soil where they can thrive. Your garden soil should be sufficient ground for growing vegetables.

To check if your soil is healthy and effective for growing vegetables, you can look for:

• The soil pH

They mostly range from acidic to alkaline. Good soil should be neutral.

• Soil type

Soils differ from clay to loam, to sandy, and their mixtures. The ideal soil for planting is loam. It shouldn’t have too much clay or sand.

• Check for soil deficiency.

The soil should have enough nutrients to grow your plants. You can get a remedy to soil deficiency if it lacks the nutrients you need.

3. Choose Your Plants Wisely

Research before you settle on the plant you want to grow in your garden. Different regions have different weather types, which allows different types of plants to thrive in these areas.

Once you know the types of plants that grow well in your area, you can then take the idea and see if you need the plant for your family. It could be a flower or a fruit plant. Use this guide to choose your garden plants.

The plants that are mostly used in gardens are under the following classes of plants:

• Herbaceous annuals

They are mostly grown over the year since they have to be replanted again after some time.

• Herbaceous perennials

They regrow from their roots and can live for a very prolonged time.

• Woody trees and shrubs

They also tend to regrow and will stay for the longest time.

• Vegetables, fruits, and herbs

These are edible plants. They are mostly annual plants, and you may have to replant after some time. Some are woody and can stay for long in your garden.

Consequently, select the right plants that will grow with the weather of your location. Most plants require sunlight and moisture for perfect growth, so it is important to group them differently from plants that don’t love the sun.
To know the types of plants in your garden, label them with name tags. It will also come in handy when your kids are doing plant projects since they can refer from their home garden.

4. Planting and Transplanting Tips

To get good results with your garden, you must practice proper gardening. You can purchase seeds for planting and check for the details of how they are supposed to be planted. Manufacturers always label information such as the labels, the depth of planting, days to germination, the spacing of seeds, and days to maturity.

Plant when it is the ideal time for planting. It helps to ensure you are planting under the right conditions, such as temperature and rainfall.
If you feel the plants are not thriving after planting, you can move them to another location. The moving of plants is known as transplanting. After transplanting, give your plants enough time to adjust to the new soil type and surroundings.

5. Removing Weeds

Weeds are a gardener’s nightmare and enemy. It would be best to understand the type of weed you are dealing with to take the proper measures to remove them. You can get this information from gardening books and agricultural extension websites.
As you learn, you may find out some plants seem to be a weed but are beneficial to your garden plants. It would be messing up your soil nutrients to remove them. Therefore, beware of what you remove or retain in your garden.

Conclusion

Ready to start a new productive hobby? Gardening is fun ad fulfilling. You will have many activities with your family members as you weed and water your plants as you catch up after a long day at work or in the mornings before setting out to go for work.
Enjoy the freshness of a garden by using these tips to start a simple garden today. Also, ensure you have enough flowers in your garden for perfect fragrance and self-therapy. It would help if the flowers had beautiful colors for the children to pluck and have fun.

7 Tips For Gardening At Home

There’s nothing like growing a garden to make your house (condo, apartment, townhome) feel like a home. It doesn’t matter whether you grow flowers, edibles, or a mix, there’s something about watching a tiny seedling mature into a beautiful plant that provides food or adds beauty to your landscape that provides an amazing sense of accomplishment. What makes growing a garden even better is that it isn’t difficult, especially if you keep the following six tips top of mind.

1. Select the right place for your garden.

 

The location of your garden is a major aspect of its success. If you are growing a vegetable garden, you don’t want to select a site that is shady for most of the day. Likewise, if you have decided to grow shade-loving plants like hostas, you’ll want to avoid sunny sites.

In addition to light considerations, think about the view. When growing vegetables, the space isn’t always as appealing to look at as a space planted with flowers. You can always edge a vegetable garden with flowers like zinnias to make it prettier to look at. This ensures you see the site and you don’t forget to tend it on a regular basis.

A final note on site selection is to think about proximity to water. If at all possible, select a site that doesn’t require hundreds of feet of hose. This is simply a tip of convenience. Unwinding and winding up a really long hose can be a lot of work.

2. Discover what USDA Hardiness Zone you are in

 

Knowing your hardiness zone will ensure you don’t select trees, shrubs, vines, many types of fruiting plants or perennials that won’t survive in your climate because it’s too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter. It’s also a good starting point for determining your last frost date in the spring so you know when you can plant vegetables and annuals.

The numbers start in the north and increase as you move south, so the further south you move, the higher the zone number and the warmer the climate. If you live in Zone 6 and you select a plant that is hardy to Zone 5, the plant will do just fine in your yard. However, if you select a plant labeled hardy to Zone 7, it will most likely not survive the winter.

3. Amend your soil

 

Just about every garden site will require soil amendment, so unless the dirt in the site you’ve selected for your garden is easy to dig, crumbly, accepts water easily and has a loose structure for plant roots to grow. Well-aged manure and compost are great organic amendments for your soil; work one to two inches of one of these into the top three or so inches of the soil in your new garden site. In an existing garden, when adding new plants, place a handful of compost into the hole with the new plant.

4. Water Wisely

 

Watering your garden isn’t something you’ll want to do on a schedule. For the best results, feel the soil. Take a small handful. If you are able to form it into a small ball, or it sticks to your hand, you don’t need to water, the soil has enough moisture. However, if it hardly holds together in your hand, or if the surface of the garden looks baked, cracked or hard, it’s time to water!

There’s also a best time of day to water. Try not to water late in the day. The plant’s foliage needs time to dry. If it stays wet for a long time, like over night, mold, mildew and disease problems can become an issue. When you water early in the day, the light and warmth of the day will dry the water droplets that sit upon plant leaves.

5. Stay on top of the Weeds

 

Weeding is likely the least popular garden chore. You will do yourself a big favor if you weed early and often because you’ll have fewer to pull, they’ll be smaller and have less developed roots, and they won’t have had a chance to go to seed. Hand weeding and hoeing are the best weed-removal methods. Be careful not to dig too deep because you’ll bring up dormant weed seeds that will then germinate and grow more weeds.

Putting down a weed barrier and a thick layer of mulch–two to three inches deep–can help keeping the weeds at bay by blocking out the sun needed to germinate weed seeds in the soil. You can purchase a commercial mulch or use shredded leaves, pine needles, or even straw. A word of warning on straw. Be cautious to ensure that you know you are buying clean straw. If there are weeds in the straw, you’ll just end up planting the very thing you’re trying to prevent!

6. Feed your plants

 

Even though you’ve started with great soil, your plants will likely need a mid-season boost from a quality fertilizer, which will ensure nutrient levels in your soil are at the right level for healthy plant growth. Testing your soil is the only way to determine the level of nutrients present in your particular soil.
Fortunately this is much easier than it sounds. Just give your local cooperative extension a call and they can tell you what they need to test your soil for free or at a low cost – depending upon where you live.

The test results will guide you to the proper fertilizer needs of your soil. Don’t skip this step because you may find that there are actually high levels of some nutrients, and adding more will further inhibit plant growth.

Once you have the results in hand and know what your soil needs, you can head to the nursery to pick up a fertilizer that fits your needs. Fertilizer labels have three numbers, such as 10-10-10. The numbers represent the percentage of Nitrogen(N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K) in the fertilizer. If your soil is high in Nitrogen, your plants will have great foliage but few blooms. In this case, you’ll want a fertilizer labeled with 3-20-20, indicating that it is low in N.

7. Basic Tools You’ll Be Glad to Have

 

Like any hobby, having the right tools makes a huge difference in your success. A trowel is going to be the most important hand tool in your garden tool belt. You will also want a cultivator to help loosen soil that has become compacted over time. The trowel will be your main workhorse, but the transplanter (the one with the measuring marks on it) will make all the difference when you need to measure the right size holes for different plants, and the cultivator will loosen soils that end up packed over time. A weeding tool is also going to be a big help in making sure you are able to pull weeds root and all, which will help ensure they don’t grow back. Finally, don’t forget gloves to protect your hands from picky thistles, thorns and of course to help keep your hands and nails clean.

What Should A Beginner Gardener Plant?

What to plant as a first time gardener?

You just moved to a house with a yard from your bachelor pad apartment. Congratulations. At the same time, good luck. That yard of yours will need some tending to look its best. As a novice gardener you will need a few tips to get you started with a flower garden.

First thing you need to know is your growing zone. What grows like wildfire and looks great on the west coast’s hot climates, is not going to do so well in the cooler climates of the Midwest or New England states. So, keep your growing zone in mind when you are selecting plants for your landscape.

Second thing to consider is do you want perennial or annual plants. Those both have their advantages and disadvantages. Annual plants usually have bright colors and bigger flowers giving you the million dollar look in your garden, but when their season is over, they just die. You have to plant new ones next year. Perennials on the other hand keep coming year after year. They also have pretty flowers but many of them are not as lively as annuals and when you decide to change the look of your garden, they are kind of a pain in the neck to dig out and replant somewhere else.

Third and may be the most important aspect of these plants for me, was, how much maintenance will they need ? My yard had an automatic irrigation system. So, watering them was not going to be an issue, but plants still need regular maintenance against diseases, weeds and what-not.

So, I decided to go with a perennial garden with some annuals sprinkled in some spots to give the needed color pop as well as having an option to change them yearly, to make my garden look a tad bit different.

For the beginner gardener like myself, I decided to have a couple of crape myrtle bushes or trees depending on how you train them, azaleas and rhododendrons as my anchor plants with zinnias and marigolds (more about those in a little bit) as their colorful counterparts.

Crape myrtle, is one of the lowest maintenance plants you can find which grows in zone 7 and above. They are not picky about soil pH levels but slightly acidic soils is their best planting medium. They grow tall and can be trained to look like trees or bushes. Very light and infrequent fertilization with nitrogen rich compounds is all they need. More fertilizer makes the plant grow more foliage rather than their gorgeous flowers. To get more flowers throughout the season, you just need to deadhead the plant once a week or so. Light pruning once during winter is all the maintenance it requires. They can become the focal points of your landscape.

Azaleas and rhododendrons are members of the ericaceae family of plants. Although both plants can not handle cold weather frost well and die, in milder climates of zone 7 and and higher numbered zones, they are hardy perennials. They require very little maintenance. Maybe a little bit of finger pinch pruning to keep the plant shape in check every now and then. That’s about it. They are acid loving. Hence they thrive in the red clay of the south. If you want to force them to flower, plop a basket full of used up coffee grounds around the stump of the plant once a month or so. Then all they need is water.

And yes, I know, zinnias and marigolds are not necessarily perennials, technically speaking. But these plants self-seed when they die and unless there is a drastic change in the soil condition, they come back year after year. Hence they can be treated as perennials for all intents and purposes. Some people like marigolds’ scent while others find it unbearable. But regardless where you stand on that topic, the scent it emits is a natural repellent for mosquitoes. If you are living near a standing body of water, you should consider surrounding your property with marigolds.

Also, in the south, you can not go wrong with creeping phlox. They grow like a wildfire, their needle-like leaves cover the barren spots in your garden while its white or pink / purple tone flowers add a much needed color pop to your landscape. If you plant them as a ground cover, consider pruning the branches that went woody once a year after the flowering season is over.

When it comes to annuals, it is mostly a personal choice. If you are living in a cooler climate, you can not go wrong with pansies, impatiens and forget-me-nots. Once planted, all you need to do is water them. In the south where the planting zones are 8 and above, some annuals can be treated as perennials. Hence a little more planning may be a good thing, for saving you both time and money.

My choice of annuals in the south were impatiens, verbanas, dianthus, celosias, snapdragons and foxgloves. None of these require too much of a maintenance and most, if not all of them come back year after year, either by self seeding or their roots being well protected from the effects of very little frost I had.

Also, both for the perennials and the annuals, planning the plant height is another aspect of planting. You do not want to place your dianthus behind the celosias, as their near ground level flowers will not be visible while celosia’s tall and majestic looking foliage and flowers block their visibility.

Last but not the least, if your garden doesn’t look right the first year, don’t fret. Chalk it up to experience and learn from your mistakes. Take note of where you went wrong. The next time you’ll be wiser.

Gardening Ideas

Hello, and welcome to MotlowCreekGardens.com. Thank you for joining us! Are you looking for tips to help you get “back to the earth,” and reconnect with nature? Let’s begin! There is nothing like digging in fresh dirt – ask any child! There is a simple pleasure that can only be had when you are picking a vegetable you grew yourself. It’s hard to describe.

In today’s post, we’d like to offer an idea that you can implement if you have limited gardening experience, but would like to experiment with an easy-to-grow plant. Also taking into consideration that you might be wanting to share this experience with children, we thought about short attention spans! So, what is an easy plant to grow that doesn’t take too long, and which will offer results relatively soon?

In our opinion, something like growing sugar snap peas is the perfect plant! First of all, once you plant the seed, you’ll see it pop above the soil in less than 2 weeks, and then, less than 2 months later you’ll be picking them and popping them in your mouth!

For an even faster seed-to-eat product, try radishes! Talk about fast! You’ll plant them and be eating them within a month! Yes, they’re probably a little more bitter than snap peas, but the rewards come quickly.

In our own garden, when the kids came by in the fall, one of the most entertaining things we did was dig up potatoes and carrots. Seriously, watching the faces of children when they unearth these “treasures” is amazing! Yes, they take longer to grow, but they are easy, and as long as you keep the beetles off the potato leaves throughout the summer, you should have some fabulous fun when they are ready to dig up! We’ve never had any trouble with anything eating our ‘taters or carrots, but depending where you live, you may want to ask a local greenhouse what to watch for. Do a quick online search for “best plants to grow in (state your region/area)” and you will find endless ideas you can begin implementing in days!

Happy gardening, and we’ll see you again soon!