Ah, spring: the gentle awakening from winter hibernation.
As any of our green-thumbed friends will tell you, spring is basically synonymous with garden-tending. After spending months holed up in our hovels, wondering if we’ll ever be warm again, even a glimpse of sunnier times can motivate us to spruce up our living spaces--inside and out.
What if we told you that there are plenty of ways to keep your personal Eden all year long? And you should! As with most things in life, the most vibrant and fruitful garden is one that has been consistently tended over time.
Without further ado, here are our tips for making sure your garden is lush and lively all year ‘round.
Summertime, and the Plants are Thiiirsty
Chances are as the weather heats up, you’d rather relax in your garden than get down in the dirt and work on it, but here’s a secret: summer is actually when your plants need you most!
The heat of the season can strip soil of its nutrients, leaving your plants and flowers wilty with hunger. To show them some love, focus on improving soil quality. This will ensure your blooms are getting all the energy they need to combat the rise in temperature.
Here are a few ways to improve soil quality:
Did you know that you can use food waste and other organic matter to breathe new life into your live plants? That’s the magic of composting! Compost has many benefits, including:
- Almost instant improvement in soil’s ability to retain moisture
- Provision of critical nutrients from food waste and organic matter
- Reduction in the emissions of dangerous gases from landfills
Adhere to a Watering Schedule
Life is busy, and sometimes supplying drinks to plants just isn’t at the top of your list of priorities. It’s easy to fall into an irregular watering schedule, but summer is definitely not the time for that. Frequency and time of day matters!
Temperatures are typically highest in the afternoon. As such, evaporation can pose a real threat to absorption of water into the soil around your plants. Try watering in the early hours of the morning, while it’s still cool. This will ensure more complete water absorption and allow time for the plants’ root systems to retain maximum moisture before being taxed by the coming heat, keeping them vibrant from sun-up to sundown.
Another tip: when and how often you should water varies greatly from plant to plant. We suggest recording each type you have and keeping a watering schedule.
Embrace Garden Technology
You can probably come up with at least a dozen ways technology regularly makes your life easier, right? A phone for quick connections to distant relatives, a dishwasher to save your hands from many pruny hours in the kitchen sink--the list is long. Similarly, garden technology allows you to grow heaps of beautiful, healthy plants, with minimal effort.
Winter might bring frosty temperatures and gloomy weather, but you don’t have to let that put a damper on your gardening game!
Consider planting evergreen shrubs like camellias and hollies to keep the dreary disposition of the season out of your pots and beds. Plants like these thrive in the cold-weather months but look great long into spring and summer.
PSA for rose-lovers: given a little extra TLC prior to winter’s first freeze, most rose varieties are perfectly happy to endure a few months of chill.
Autumnal Ablutions (We Fancy)
A cup of cocoa, sharp, crisp air, and a lawn that’s more dead leaves than grass--must be fall! To keep your garden healthy during this season, focus on keeping it clear of decaying bits.
Clean Up Rotting Plants
If you don’t clean up and remove dead plants, an unsightly garden will be the least of your worries. As plant matter decomposes, it harbors diseases, pests, and fungi, which cause extensive damage to living plants and flowers.
Remember our compost tip from the summer? It applies here, too! Gather fallen leaves, sticks, and dead flowers, and bury them in your garden for an autumnal plant-snack.
Weeds aren’t just unsightly; they’re also really good at quickly absorbing soil nutrients and stifling the growth of surrounding plants. It takes a little extra effort, and the soggy conditions typical of fall might discourage you from getting on hands and knees to pull weeds, but your garden will thank you.
Now you’ve got a pile of weeds. You can just toss them in the compost pile, right? Sort of. To avoid the sprouting of “volunteer” plants, you’ll do well to heed some simple advice for composting weeds and other questionable plants.
To effectively eliminate unwanted greenery, be sure to use sharp, reliable tools. If the contents of your toolbox are looking rusty but you aren’t prepared to go on a spending spree, consider a tool-sharing platform. (We know where you can find one.)
Spring into Action
The sun is back, the temperature is rising, and your garden is exploding. It’s hard to know where to start when spring comes around. The possibilities seem endless! Here are some suggestions to get you started:
Put on Your Inspector’s Hat
Closely inspect your garden for signs of ice or snow damage, dead plants, and evidence of bug infestations or other critters.
Clear It Out
If you think the notion of spring cleaning applies only to the indoors, think again. Now is the time to get down and dirty in your garden, dutifully cleaning out any debris that compounded over the past season. Grab your best tools and get to pruning, trimming, and fertilizing.
Make It Picture Perfect
We’ve talked a lot about your garden's health, but what’s around the garden is important too! To brighten up the area:
- repair damaged fences, raised beds, or trellises
- realign stepping stones
- clean out the gutters
- add a new birdbath, bird feeder, or bee hotel
- add fresh paint to sheds--sage green will blend beautifully into the surrounding area, but bright red is a bold pop of color.
Anything that needs a little something extra, now’s the time!
Vibrant plant life isn’t just a spring thing. With good research, some discipline, and the right tools, your garden can thrive all year long.