Are you ready to enjoy the lively colors of your own flower patch or the juicy tastes of homegrown vegetables and fruits? The appeal of gardening at home has grown, but sometimes getting started can seem like an insurmountable task. If you’ve already developed a green thumb, you may find yourself wanting to try your hand at new varieties. Whichever bucket you find yourself in, gardening with seeds and bulbs is extremely rewarding and well worth it. We’ve put together a few tips here to get your garden started.
What types of flower and vegetable seeds are best for beginners?
If you’re worried about bumbling through your first growing season, you might want to try selecting seeds that are hardier and easier to grow than others. For vegetables, these include cabbage, cauliflower, peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, basil, chives, broccoli, onions, brussel sprouts and leeks. If you’re looking to spruce up your home with bright blooms, perennial flower picks include columbines, Shasta daisies and hollyhocks. On the annual side you can take your pick from zinnias, cosmos, alyssum and marigolds. Do note that, based on your location and the type of seeds you’re planting, the time to sow your seeds will differ. Make sure to consult with a reliable growing calendar before you start planting.
What steps should I take when planting my vegetable and flower seeds?
When it comes to planting, you’ll want to monitor the soil, sunlight, water and location of your seedlings.• Create a healthy soil mixture.
Make sure you pick up some seed starter mix and, when it’s time to transplant your greens into the garden, some compost or manure, as well.• Space seeds evenly and as directed.
After your soil is in place, moisten it and begin dropping your seeds onto the surface as evenly as possible. Typically the back of your seed packet will come with instructions on how much space should be between each plant. The instructions will also tell you how deep a layer of soil covering each seed needs — or if it should be covered at all.• Make a cozy growing atmosphere.
Keep your seeds moistened or set them in a tray of water. To encourage germination, cover your seed flats with plastic wrap and keep them in a warm area.• Once you see sprouts, head for the sun.
Once your veggies or flowers have sprouted, uncover your flats and move them to a bright, sunny spot. Your seedlings also won’t require as much heat now, so be sure they’re not near any radiators or air vents. You can begin to fertilize them once their leaves begin to grow.• Keep an eye on space.
If your seedlings begin to outgrow their containers, carefully repot them. After they’re successfully rehomed, be sure to water them to establish their roots in this new home.• Acclimate them to the great outdoors.
You won’t just want to move your new plants outside straightaway. Instead, move them to a protected area outside for a few hours each day. Keep increasing their exposure to the outdoors gradually for about a week, then leave them out overnight on the last day and transplant them into your garden the next morning.
I’m a beginner gardener, what bulb species should I start with?
If you’re just discovering the wonder of bulbs, here are a few low-maintenance choices to get your garden started:• Lily:
With dozens of colors and sizes, as well as blooming seasons, lilies are a gorgeous addition. Make sure you can provide them ample moisture year-round, plus deep, loose soil and sunlight.• Allium:
Basically ornamental onions, these bloom into vibrant clusters of tiny, bright flowers. Make sure you can provide them well-drained soil and full sun.• Eucomis:
Also known as Pineapple Lily or King’s Flower, these produce blooms that look like miniature pineapples. They require full sun and well-drained soil.• Arabian Star Flower:
This plant produces unique, white blooms with black pistils in the center. You’ll need to keep them moistened during their growing season and provide them with full sun or partial shade, plus well-drained soil.• Dahlia:
A hardy flower with a variety of colors, Dahlias prefer full sun when planted in the northern regions of the United States and afternoon shade when planted in the South.• Wolfsbane:
You might be thinking to yourself, wait a minute — is Wolfsbane poisonous?
Yes it is, but it's also a beautiful plant that will look great in your garden while helping you to deter werewolves.
Are there any tips for successfully growing my bulbs?
For starters, if you’re looking for year-round color, plant a mixture of bulbs that bloom in the spring, summer and fall. You can even plant large groups for a more spectacular effect. Here are a few other tips to get your bulbs growing.• Choose plump, firm bulbs.
When picking out the starters for your garden, avoid bulbs that are moldy, soft or small. A larger size also means they’ll typically bloom more compared to small bulbs.• Plant in optimal sunlight or shade.
Check the packaging or online to see what kind of atmosphere your new bulb collection prefers. Most do well in full sun and well-drained soil. It’s also important to check on the best time for planting.• Dig deep.
As a general rule, you’ll want to dig a hole that’s about three times deeper than your bulb is tall. Double check the directions on the packaging as there are always exceptions to the rule.• The pointy side goes up.
The pointy end marks the top of your bulb, so make sure it’s positioned toward the sky. If yours lacks a pointy end, look for roots, which should face down into the ground. If you’re still not sure, plant them on their sides — their stems will find their way to the sunlight.• Cover ‘em up.
It’s recommended that you top the soil over your bulbs with a thick, two- to three-inch layer of mulch to discourage weeds from growing around them. Once you’re done planting and adding the mulch layer, be sure to give them a healthy dose of water to encourage the establishment of roots.• Protect against squirrels.
If you have an inquisitive squirrel population, chances are they’ll discover your tasty stash of bulbs before they have a chance to bloom. To keep those pesky, hungry squirrels away, place chicken wire over the top of the soil.
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