Spring Gardening Tips
Whiskey Barrel Garden
Here in the Northeast, where winter has become nothing but a faded memory. Many of us who yearn for the milder days of spring, are getting ready once again, to put their green thumbs back in action.
April and May, are certainly key months in preparing and getting the outdoor garden ready for a colorful mix of different vegetable and flower varieties. Turning the soil over in our garden beds from the previous year, is just one step in welcoming spring with open arms. We all get so excited, this time of year don't we?
Even most of us guys can't wait to help out with the placing of lawn decor in the yard, like flower pots, baskets and what have you. Helping our wives or girlfriends out, by putting out those little garden flags, that greet our friends or neighbors, just before they reach our doorway. And of course we can't forget about those doormats that are so important in helping us keep the floors clean. Which is so important after coming in from the garden. So as not to leave a trail of dirt, from behind.
But besides all of the important things that there are to do in preparing the garden during the months of April and May. Putting out little garden flags, and doormats are the least menial of our garden chores.
April is definitely a time to plant the seeds of vegetables and tender annuals indoors. Also it is the a time to begin to spray fruit trees, if you have any on your property. A first application of basic, organic fruit tree spray, will help protect any of fruit trees that you may have, from insect invasions Thay may occur later in the year.
In addition to all of this-Potatoes, Peas and Onions should be planted, once the soil has been turned over and dry enough. Onions for example are usually available at your local agricultural dealer, and come in bags measured by the pound. They can be grown rather easy from sets or pairs. Onions should be planted in mid to late March.
And they should be placed in a soil, that is not acidic, but one that is neutral. Also they prefer full sun and should be placed in rows four to six inches apart. Also make sure once established, your onions are watered regularly and that you keep the onion garden weed free.
If you have a taste for Tomatoes like I often do, and are tired of buying them at the supermarket. Then try your hand at growing a variety of tomato that can be picked earlier in the season. These early bloomers belong to the Heirloom family.
Heirloom Tomatoes are also called Siberian, because even at a temperature of thirty degrees for example, they continue to bare fruit, because of their high resistance to the cold. Your Heirloom tomatoes should be ready to pick by independence day. You may be thinking that this may seem far off, but like everything else-tends to come up quickly.
Growing vegetables during the warmer months of April and May, cannot only be a fun project, but one that is rewarding as well. Looking back and tasting the fruits of your labor will certainly pay off in the long run and even save you a few dollars. For me, I do love gardening, however I tend to enjoy flower gardening a bit more than growing vegetables.
Even though vegetables tend to taste better! And with this in mind, the spring months of April and May are also suitable for planting cool-season annual plants and perennials. During the pre-summer months, I like to start preparing the garden and placing plants within it, that will attract Hummingbirds. To me Hummingbirds are one of the most interesting species of birds to observe, and you can watch the feed on Holly Hock, columbine and a variety of others that you plant earlier in the year.
Columbines are great for early or late spring garden. They often resemble wildflowers, from which they were originally derived. One of the varieties of Columbine called 'Yellow Queen' is a very graceful looking, tall western native that can be planted in the garden. Columbines bloom in a multitude of vibrant spring colors.
Some of these colors that columbines can be found in are: blue, yellow, pink, white, as well as a few different bi-colors. Clementine and Barlow are types of double-colored varieties of this plant. Columbines prefer partial-shade to full-sun and grow best in well-drained soil. Fertilizing these plants with a fertilizer such as Flowertone or Plantone, will assist them in the growing cycle. Also Columbines are not only rabbit and deer resistant, but also attract hummingbirds like a magnet.
If you enjoy attracting hummingbirds to your flower garden, as an added summer treat. Then try starting a garden barrel project. To do this, either purchase, or locate a local winery where the owner could spare a empty oak wine barrel. Cut it in half, if you haven't already purchased one that has already been halved.
In this halved whiskey barrel you can grow a number of garden plants that can highlight or suggest a particular color scheme for example. One that will contain within it, a larger variety of native and colorful plants that will attract Hummer's to it.
To prepare a hummingbird theme garden in a barrel. First plant a honey suckle plant within the barrel and locate it at rear section of the barrel. A honey suckle called a 'Major Wheeler', is one variety that is recommended. Make sure that the honey suckle plant is attached to a small wooden trellis before placing it within the garden barrel.
Place some Plants that are perennials inside of the barrel garden. Perennial plants, like 'Blue Fortune, dwarf lobelia, or monarda are also appealing to hummingbirds. These plants come in a color variety called 'Fan Dark Red'.
With the addition of multi-colored Petunias and Black and Blue Salvia to top it all off-you now have not only a attractive barrel garden. But also one that will attract Hummingbirds. Not to mention, it is one garden that can be located numerous times throughout the season, if your tired of its original spot.
Somewhere during the months of March and April, don't forget to prune your rose bushes as well. And a good practice that every good Gardner should also not forget. Is to carefully cut back any rose varieties within the yard. Also this is the time of the year, in which I find myself cutting back my Ornamental grasses And any Hydrangea shrubs that are scattered about the yard.
If you do have a few ornamental grasses on your property, they should be cut back during march, to about a height of six inches above the ground. Doing so will encourage new growth to begin. Also don't forget about your Montauk Daisies and Butterfly bushes, which should also be trimmed too.
And if you have issues trying to raise flowers or vegetables; in your garden-either because of soil that contains too much clay or is very sandy, do not fear! Adding a sufficient quantity of Peat Moss, Manure, Compost or Humus will not only improve the texture of your soil as you are in the process of preparing it.
But it will also allow for these soil types to retain moisture and nutrients. And by doing this, you are also improving your soil's fertility at the same time. Gardening without a doubt is a lot of hard work for some, this true I doubt. But if you have a great appreciation for not only gardening, but for the earth and beauty as a whole.
Then whatever you put into it, is what you usually will be rewarded with in the end. That which brings many days of satisfaction and enjoyment. And also a good point to keep in mind, before heading out to that garden is...you do not have to have a green thumb to be a successful gardener.
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