As I write this post, outside, Spring is blossoming all around us and there are great sights and sounds as nature re-awakens after its winter slumber. Yesterday, Easter Sunday, I went for a stroll up the mountain near where I live and all through the countryside there were spectacular scenes as the early Spring plants and trees are almost in full bloom. As I was driving to my destination, I noticed some Cherry and Apple Blossoms, Magnolias, Azaleas, Camellia, Rhododendrons and many more of the early flowering varieties, all looking splendid in the early Spring sunshine. The daffodils have come and are almost finished flowering, except for a few late growing varieties, which were still in bloom.
The birds were chirping and singing at the top of their voices, calling out for a mate and also proclaiming and warning other rivals that they were claiming their own territories. I also observed that the swallows have arrived here and that is another sign that winter is well gone and summer cannot be far away. I have been observing the swallows for a number of years and I generally see them on or about the first or second week of April. What all of this tells us, that now is the time to begin preparing our gardens, for whatever we are going to plant and grow in the months ahead.
Nature tells us;
After about thirty minutes into my walk, I got towards the part I like, where you can see for miles. Its a view to die for and all around, the landscape is changing, Spring is bursting out all over. The fields have a fresh green appearance to them, the trees which shedded their leaves the previous Autumn are now starting to produce fresh buds, which will green-up as we go towards Summer. The farmers have ploughed and tilled their fields and they are already thinking about planting their crops for the coming year. They are not governed by the calendars or their clocks to tell them when its time to start planting, nature tells them.
Preparing for Planting;
We also can take our cues’ from the farmers and from nature itself, we will see the signs and telltales if we are looking out for them, a walk outside will signal and indicate to us, that its time to get busy on our own farms, ie, our own back gardens or raised beds. If we want good top quality produce from our planting endeavours, there are a few gardening rules that we must observe in order to achieve this. The soil quality or compost, must be pretty much top notch, this is key and this will ensure a good yield of whatever we plant, whether its vegetables, herbs, salads, or flowers. Very soon we will be thinking of planting up some pots, window boxes, flowering baskets and containers of all sizes and descriptions, when the Summer bedding flowers and plants become available in the garden centres, so lets look at some tips and ideas for these exercises. Preparation ( like the farmers ) is key and this will repay us in abundance, if we follow a few simple steps, before we begin to plant and sow.
Flower pots, window boxes and hanging baskets;
For planting all of the above, we will need fresh new compost and this will ensure a great show of flowers and bloom throughout the coming summer months. It is also very important to wash out containers and pots thoroughly, to ensure no trace of any of last years residue or compost. It is imperative that we don’t use last years compost as this will cause blight, fungus and other problems, also do not consider using use as a 50:50 mix or any other ratio either, as this will have similar consequences. Dispose of last years compost out in the garden and mix into the soil where it will work perfectly. Nature will break it down eventually and it will be integrated into the existing soil. The quality of last years compost will have been considerably reduced, but it will act as a mulch or if we have heavy soil in our backgarden it will act to help with aeration and improve the soil texture a little. Please note that there are two different main types of compost available at our garden centres, ie, we have the standard variety and also there is the ericaceous type which is used for acid loving plants.
How to plant up pots and containers;
The compost is relatively cheap at this time of the year, look around the garden centres or nurseries for special offers, bargains and special deals, ie, you will see 3 for the price of 2, buy 4 get 1 for free etc etc. There is no comparison between the compost we buy and say the compost that we may have at home in our own composter quarter. For starters the brand new compost thats available today is pre-treated with all types of slow releasing fertilizer, trace elements and other such minerals, which are vital for a good show of flowers or vegetable yield of returns. The compost made at home is ok up to a point, but not suitable for these needs. It can be used as a supplement for our raised beds or for our garden requirements. Always water the plants and flowers thoroughly before planting, place the flowers in the pots or window boxes, fill around the rootball with compost, press down firmly and water well.
Repotting indoor or outdoor plants;
This is another step that is necessary every year, as the plant grows and matures, the possibility of the plant getting potbound is very likely. To do this step we will need a pot thats approx 20-25% larger, to allow for expansion and further growth. Like we did above, use new compost always, tease out the roots a little and plant up. Water well when finished and this will ensure a healthy and thriving result. For outdoor planting of plants and shrubs, dig a hole twice as large as the root ball, position the plant in the centre, top up with a 50:50 mixture compost and soil, firm around the base of the plant and then water thoroughly.
Feeding of our pots and containers later on:
After approx two or three months, all of our pots and containers will need to be replenished or fed with either a liquid or grain fertilizer. This ensures more flowering blooms through out the summer months and well into autumn. The easiest way is a liquid mixture, which can be applied with the garden watering can. We can purchase these formulas in all of our garden centres and nurseries. Dead head the flowers as we go along, this will guarantee continuity and healthier flowers. I hope you have enjoyed reading this article, as usual we are social, if you have any queries or questions, feel free to use the comments box down below.
Cheers and happy gardening,
” We cannot stop the winter or the summer from coming.
We cannot stop the spring or the fall or make them other than they are.
They are gifts from the universe that we cannot refuse.
But we can choose what we will contribute to life when each arrives. “