After a long, cold, gray winter, few things can brighten the mood like a colorful burst of blooming flowers. Whether filling window boxes or pots for the deck or patio, successful containers start with good, nutrient-rich soil. The purchase of potting soil can very quickly deplete your gardening budget. (You do have a gardening budget, don’t you?) Make your potting soil go further by putting a layer of yard waste in the bottom. Good options are grass clippings and dried leaves that you rake out of the beds and corners of your yard. The “waste” will fill some of the volume of the container and provide additional nutrients for your plants. These materials will compost throughout the summer enriching the soil as the months go by. Don’t forget to put a liner in the bottom of the pot before filling.
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As the weather warms and we start to see daffodils and tulips waking from an incredibly long winter, those of us who love to garden start thinking about the upcoming summer garden. It is always exciting to think about moving some plants around or adding something new. Last week I saw a commercial on tv for a national home improvement store advertising both annual and perennial flowers that are now on “sale”. I about choked on my Cheerios when I saw the prices.
Over the last few years, my husband and I have transitioned our garden to one that contains mostly perennial plants (the ones that come up year after year). However, to keep things looking fresh we also like to have something new from time to time. There are a couple of ways to accomplish this.
Seeds are cheap!! For about $1 per pack you get anywhere from 30-50 seeds. If you wait until after the last frost in your area you can sow seeds directly in the ground. While you will have to wait a couple-few weeks longer than if you plant young plants the savings and the exercise in patience will be to your benefit.
There are several flowers that will self seed. Depending on the variety, seeds will be dropped or carried by the wind or by birds. With these flowers you only have to purchase seeds once. After that the flowers are their own seed source. You’ll get blooms year after year without having to purchase seeds. Seeds that are sown via the wind or birds may end up elsewhere in your garden. If they land somewhere undesirable, simply pull them in the spring when you are weeding. You can always replant them in a part of the garden that suits your taste or share them with a friend.
You can find all the information you need regarding how much sunlight, size of plant, when to plant, etc. on the back of the seed packet. This will help you to pick the right seeds for the right spot in your garden. This spring why not sow some seeds and reap the savings all summer and for years to come!
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