|Gorgeous tulips in my yard – ordered from Breck’s|
I just went to Home Depot the other day and found a bunch of tomato plants for sale already! I have never seen tomatoes for sale this early (APRIL) in Chicagoland! Yea! So now, I can think of nothing else than getting my garden planted. If you live in Chicagoland, you know that we can never safely plant until May 1st – and I am still waiting for that. But, I am going to get everything prepared right now…
|My Queen of Sweden rose bush – I succeeded in killing it the second season 🙁 Me and roses… not so much!|
Here are some tips for getting your garden prepared for planting:
1. Rototiller. ‘Nuf said.
This is going to save you so much time! It adds oxygen to the soil and gets it super soft, so you can work with it easily. Rent it for a few hours, it is totally worth it!
2. Begin amending your soil with your compost. You could just add the compost on top of your soil, then use the rototiller to work it in for you.
3. Purchase quality garden equipment: a digging shovel, hand trowel (for digging small, shallow areas), hand garden cultivator (for aerating) and a garden pruner. If you have a large yard, you must have a wheelbarrow. For a small yard/garden, a 5-gallon bucket works just fine.
4. Know your yard/garden. Gardening is all about knowing sun/shade (as well as drainage and soil quality…but, lets just begin with the sun/shade!). You may be surprised, as you are planning for your garden, which areas actually receive full sun, partial sun and shade. Don’t just look first thing in the morning. Take a Saturday and check as many times as possible, where the sunny & shady spots are. I mistakenly thought I had some full sun spots in my yard, only to discover the sun didn’t hit them after 1 p.m. My full-sun plants thanked me, once I moved them to a sunnier spot. 🙂
5. Move the plants around. If you always plant tomatoes in a certain spot, move them this year to another sunny spot. It is healthy for your soil to have a rest.
6. Compost, compost, compost!! (just had to throw that in there 🙂
7. Prepare by researching plants for your ZONE. I have had a blast looking through magazines and ordering plants online, only to find they will not thrive here. heartbreaker!! So, now, I try to buy locally as much as possible, it makes it more foolproof. Some of my best plants I have purchased at our locals French Market for a great price…and they have thrived in my yard year after year.
|Absolutely, one of my favorite bushes in my yard (weigela). It is so easy to care for as well. See the pretty tulips in the background? I love to buy the unique tulips from Brecks!|
If you haven’t been composting, what are you waiting for?
1. If you don’t have a place to compost in your yard, just save tea bags, egg shells and banana peels in a freezer bag in your freezer. Then, at planting time, work them into your soil. Your veggies and plants will thank you for it!
2. I save all my food scraps (except meat – sorry raccoons!) in my compost can in the kitchen. When it is full, we add it to our outdoor composter (yes, even in the middle of winter, you can be preparing for your spring garden!)
PLANT: (right now!)
Normally, April is still too chilly to begin planting, but there are some cool weather plants that you can start right now. I am going to work on some container plantings of lettuce this weekend. They are always so beautiful and economical. Makes for a great container!
This is a helpful link, that should get you through the entire planing season:
ehow.com- Month by Month planting guide
May might still have some danger of frost, but the worst will have past, and you can start planting cool season crops such as asparagus, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, lettuce, onions, peas, radishes, spinach, and turnips. If it is still too cold, with temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, add a row cover to trap warmth and . (this info from ehow.com as well)
|Isn’t she a beauty?? These iris’ come up year after year. I don’t have to do anything to them. Gotta love no maintenance!|
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