Spring has sprung! Or is springing…or maaaaaybe you're still buried in snow. Wherever you are, spring is on her way. For me, the coming of spring means that I can get back out in my garden, one of my favorite places to be.
But in the middle of my anticipation, I can also feel overwhelmed. From past experience, I know I just need to dig in (pun intended!). This spring, I've gathered a few easy and productive gardening tips and tricks from our team and beyond to inspire me. I hope they do the same for you.
Do you have tips to share? Let us know!
Just Ten Minutes
If you're like me, you've got a garden ‘To Do’ list (among others). This time of year, that garden list moves in only one direction: it keeps growing and growing and growing -- you might even say it's growing like a weed! (Couldn't resist!)
When I walk past beds crowded with weeds, the path to garden harmony seems long. But I have learned a trick: you don't need hours to make a world of difference. How to weed? Try ten minutes a day. Start in one smallish area and work on it until you can actually see a difference. On your next visit, make a bit more progress. Little by little, you will claim order from the chaos.
One bonus of weeding is that you immediately uncover beauty and growth. Another bonus: you get outside and get your hands in the dirt. For me, few things are more satisfying than working with the earth and seeing the results.
Invite the Family
Our friends at the 365 Mile Challenge know how important it is to get outside with our kids, every day if we can. What if part of that time was spent working in the family garden? Digging in the dirt is a joy for kids of all ages – add a hose and some practical jobs and play time can be productive for the yard and fun for the family.
One of the team members I talked to for this blog invited her neighbor boy, 4 years old, to sort through a bunch of rocks and weeds in an area where she planned to plant grass. He stayed busy for 30 minutes, gathered a big bucket of rocks, and was proud of his role. For his efforts, he got a roll of Lifesavers, $3, and some glowing praise.
Kids (okay, all of us!) also love to see the progress of plantings, and it is a gift to give them a stake in the results. You might even want to set aside a bit of dirt just for them, ask what they want to grow, and help them tend "their" garden.
And, of course, all of these tips work great with grandkids, too!
Apply a layer of mulch to your existing beds. You'll be amazed at how this simple addition pulls everything together. Plus, moving mulch is fabulous exercise!
Adding 2-4 inches of mulch will help hold moisture, minimize weeds, and keep things looking tidy. Organic mulch also builds up the nutrients in the soil, improving the health and longevity of your plants.
Lean away from beauty bark and toward a layer of leaves, shredded bark, compost, or other material that will decompose. In addition to making everything pretty, all that goodness seeps into your soil, making your plants super happy.
Trash Into Treasure
Here's a fun, easy way to add pizzazz to your garden: turn your trash into treasure! Maybe you've got a pair of rain boots with a little leak in the heel, or an old metal watering can that's been dropped one time too many. Give these well-loved items a new life -- turn them into planters!
You'll need to poke holes in the bottom for drainage. Use a hammer and nail or a cordless drill. Then add a little dirt, a little compost, and the perfect little plant. I use these potting projects as an opportunity to splurge: choose something from the nursery that feels like a treat -- it's only one plant! As with anything in a pot, your new creation can move around to add color wherever you need it most.
Try and Try Again (and ASK!)
We recently moved to a new home. Aiming for a low-maintenance garden that would attract birds and butterflies, I decided to add a native plant garden. I chose a wedge of land near the driveway and tucked in an array of Pacific Northwest native plants. But the ferns, salal, and goatsbeard that had thrived at my former home (just up the road) looked wilted and rough all summer.
A new neighbor came by and observed my efforts and the sad state of my landscape. When I told her my vision for a native plant garden, she said, “That's a great idea. Except this is the wrong spot!” Having lived here for decades she knew what worked. On her advice I've moved my Northwest natives to a shadier spot and planted heat-loving herbs and shrubs in the sun. My garden is much happier. I am, too.
There is a wealth of information available about gardening and most of us can find a neighbor, friend, or nursery where we can ask questions and share tips. Few things are more satisfying than figuring out what ails a plant and getting it on the right track. Most gardeners love to swap stories with another enthusiast. They will be delighted to share their mistakes so that you don't have to make them!
(Speaking of sharing my mistakes, here’s my tip within a tip: Don’t be afraid to move it! Not everything gets planted in the right place the first time. Move things if you have to. Dig deep to get the entire root ball and relocate your plants to a happier home. Add a little compost to the new spot and water well.)
So you've worked hard to create the beautiful garden of your dreams (at least in that corner over there). Don't forget to stop and smell the roses! (Or, you know, take in the tulips, smile at the sunflowers, delight in the daffodils . . .) Take a few minutes to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Invite the ones you love. Soak it all in – the smells, the colors, the sound of the bees. And the bliss of being outside.
Happy Gardening! Happy Spring!
Nuu-Muu's Affiliate Program Manager, Carolyn blogs and gardens in beautiful Blanchard, Washington.
**We discovered that one common love of our customers is gardening! What else do you love? Do you ever garden in your Nuu-Muu? Tell us!!! We love to hear from you.
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