Gardening season is right around the corner. Late winter is the perfect time to plan your spring gardening—and spring is the right time to get started.
Here are some expert gardening tips to help you have a great growing season this year.
The right site
If you’re growing vegetables, herbs or flowers, you’ll want to choose the right site. Choose a location you can see from your home, so you’ll remember to water and care for your garden.
With more time at home these days, you might be tempted to go big when it comes to your garden. Here, the old adage of “don’t bite off more than you can chew” applies. Using concepts like square-foot gardening, you can actually fit quite a lot of plants into a small space. You’ll also be able to keep up with weeding, watering, and pruning in a small space.
Know your sun
Track how the sun moves through your yard as spring gets underway. You’ll want to know how many hours of sun your intended garden location receives, and what direction the sun comes from. A south-facing garden plot will get the warmer rays of the sun later in the day and may be better for tomatoes and bold blooms like sunflowers and zinnia. Partial shade is ideal for other kinds of plants like sweet pea and columbine.
Watch the last frost date
Spring can bring warm days but very cool nights—and an occasional late-season freeze. Be sure to know your hardiness zone (northern Illinois is Zone 5A) and use it to guide your planting. You want to choose plants that are hardy to your zone. A good rule of thumb is that cold-hardy seeds like lettuce and carrots can go into the ground in early April, but you’ll want to wait to plant vegetables like tomatoes and zucchinis until well after the last average frost date of April 30. This is why many people wait to plant flowers and fruiting vegetables until at least mid-May.
Locate your garden near water. Make sure the hose can reach or consider a soaker hose system that allows you to drip water to roots. The easier it is to water your garden, the better you’ll keep up when the hot days of July and August roll around.
Plant in good soil
Good soil grows better plants. The soil in your yard may not be ideal for what you want to grow. In northern Illinois, there can be a lot of clay in the soil, which can lead to wet, poorly draining growing conditions. Unless you’re working with this—and native plants that like water are good choices here—you’ll want to improve your soil.
You can work in compost, topsoil, and other organic matter to improve your soil. Or you can opt for container gardens or raised-bed gardening, and you can customize the soil blend that you use. You might find that the investment pays off in a better gardening experience.
Gardening can be a great way to be closer to nature, spend more time outside, and beautify your yard. A little bit of research and planning can go a long way toward enjoying it more. Reach out to discuss how we can help you with your at-home gardening this season.
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