Here are some tips to help your plants survive during a season such as last summer’s drought:
- Use native plants, trees and shrubs that adapt well to this area.
- Place plants with similar light and water requirements together in the flower beds.
- Dig in organic matter such as, compost, manure, or rotting leaves.
- Put plants needing lots of water, near a downspout, near drainage areas that are low-lying, or in the shade of other plants.
- Do your watering early in the morning for the most benefit and most efficient use. Watering later in the day during warm or hot weather leads to quicker evaporation.
- Conserve water, and help plants survive by using soaker hoses, or drip irrigation. Overhead sprays tend to evaporate, and miss areas that need watering.
- Mulch with 2 to 3 inches of organic bark chips, or shredded leaves to conserve soil moisture and reduce weeds.
Square Foot Gardening
In January, so many of us make resolutions for the new year, work on achieving these goals, but by February lapse into old habits. Myself included. Last year I made a resolution that I would plant within a few months, all potted plants I acquired either via the Somerville Garden Club’s monthly raffle or annual plant sale, or that I purchased from garden centers. I did pretty well, but there are still three small plants in pots on my driveway now buried in snow.
Here are some New Year’s resolutions you might consider committing to in 2017:
- Commit to spending fifteen minutes every day in your garden, or schedule one to two hours per week. Get a family member, friend or neighbor to help you or keep you company.
- Make a resolution to conserve the use of water in your garden. If affordable, instead of using overhead ‘water-waster’ sprinklers for your garden or lawn, have an underground irrigation system installed, or use soaker hoses as a cheaper means to conserve water. Or, purchase a water barrel to harvest rain water from a down spout attached to your rain gutter.
- To save money and have more types of plants to choose from, grow plants from seeds indoors. Order seeds from catalogs, or buy them from your local garden center. You’ll need a grow light, seed starting soil, small pots or a seed starting kit. Plant the seeds in their indoor pots about 8 weeks before the final expected spring frost. Follow directions on the seed packets or from the starter kit.
- Growing local and sustainable food organically is a healthy and fulfilling alternative to buying food from the supermarket. So, grow vegetables and herbs; adding some flowering annuals and perennials for variety and color. Plant them in the sun in raised beds, or in raised square foot garden containers to keep the plant roots safe from any lead in your soil.
- Go to lectures, the library, or search online to learn about building raised beds and growing organically.
- If you’ve been using chemicals on your lawn, plants or shrubs, make the choice to go organic this year. Using organic fertilizers, soil amendments and pesticides will be healthier for your family, neighbors, the plants, and for the environment around you.
I’d love to hear what your gardening resolutions are for this new year!
Contact me at: SunandShadeGardening@comcast.net