How To Prep Your Garden For Spring | Community Idea Stations


How To Prep Your Garden For Spring

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Struggling with how to get your garden ready for the season? Here are some tips to get you started. 


Transplant cool season vegetables

Mid-March means it is time to transplant the cool season cole crops of broccoli, kale, cauliflower cabbage, etc. in the vegetable garden.


Assess which plants survived winter: use the scratch test

As for the landscape, it is time to take stock of what survived the cold temperatures of this past winter and to think about curb appeal. Assess each plant browned by the winter with a simple fingernail scratch test. Scratch or chip off a small tidbit of bark to reveal the dead brown wood below or the vibrant green wood. Work down the stem checking every few inches until there is green exposed under the chipped off bark. Prune down to the green wood removing all of the dead wood and encouraging strong, new growth.


Replace dead plants with Virginia natives

Plants with an established root system will push out new growth creating a pleasing plant fairly quickly. For those that need to be replaced consider a plant native to Virginia such as the evergreen shrub Bordeaux Dwarf Yaupoon Holly, llex vomitoria 'Bordeaux' or one of the many clutivars of the native Switchgrass, Pancium virgatum. Plant them immediately and mulch them well to retain moisture. Remember, do not create mulch volcanoes, create mulch donuts with the plant in the hole in the middle.


Increase curb appeal by adding colorful flowers

Daffodils and dogwood blossoms are like beacons drawing everyone into the garden each spring. For reliable blooms that deer typically do not nibble on consider Lantana, any type will do. A favorite of mine is perennial Lantana 'Miss Huff,' this plant thrives in Maymont's Italian Garden. Good old fashioned Marigolds, Tagetes and drought tolerant Globe Amaranthe, Gomphrena globosa, along with Angelonia, A. angustifolia, are favorites for increasing curb appeal but typically not for deer. Learn when the last frost date is for your region and plant these tender annuals accordingly.

Happy Gardening!


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