Sunday, April 27, 2008

How My Garden Grows

A few new pots of impatiens on my porch.

The weather is gorgeous here in Northern California this weekend, so I decided yesterday that it was time to plant my seasonal flowers and vegetables. Before embarking on this task, I did a quick search on Martha’s site to see if she had any wisdom to impart. I came across this article that offers 10 tips for spring gardening. Below is a summary of the article, noting how I “appropriated” her advice.

1. Survey the yard: Martha says to make note of trees that need to be trimmed, things that need to be repaired, etc. Hooray! – I’m already ahead of her. I know exactly where things stand in my yard and I’ve “hired an arborist,” a.k.a. my husband, like she recommends.

2. Order tools and plants: I have a basic arsenal of gardening tools, so I hit up our local nursery and picked up my flowers and veggies.

3. Get ready to mow: This is my husband’s department. He keeps the lawn pretty tidy despite ignoring Martha’s suggestions to regularly sharpen the lawnmower’s blades and change its sparkplugs.

4. Prune trees and shrubs: Check! My “arborist” and I did this a few weekends ago when the weather was nice.

5. Take a soil test: Martha says to test your soil’s pH. Seriously?? I skipped this one.

6. Prepare new beds: I did not spread compost or manure as per Martha, but I did weed and rake all areas before planting.

7. Plant: Oops! Martha recommends doing all planting on a cool, cloudy day. Yesterday was neither cool nor cloudy, and I have the sunburn to prove it.

8. Fertilize: The array of fertilizers at the nursery made my head spin. I bought the most generic-looking one, simply labeled “plant and flower food.” It must be better than nothing, right? Besides, the article says to reference that darn pH test that I skipped.

9. Start a compost pile: Gross! No thanks.

10. Clean bird feeders and baths: Yay, I’m done! I don’t have any of these.

So, I did not quite meet Martha standards in today’s gardening adventure. But I think I did pretty darn good for a busy girl on a budget.

How do you get your yard ready for spring planting? I’d love to hear any tips or tricks.


Abbey said...

I laughed when I read that you should plant on a cloudy day...those don't really happen here do they?

If it's cloudy, then it's probably raining...but only in certain (and few) months of the year. If it's not raining, then it's pretty much completely clear and sunny out!

Yea for CA weather...but maybe not for gardening. : )

I have no gardening tips. I am no gardener...but I would like to work on that. Right now I'm lucky enough that the house we live in "came with" lots of plants/flowers that just keep a-bloomin'...and we've been here for four years!

Anonymous said...

Ashley...this is the perfect, perfect, perfect sidejob for you. Congrats! Great advise here, which I'll bookmark for such time as I have my own garden to tend to. For now, I'm happy to have someone else come once a week and take care of it. :-)

Sally Parrott Ashbrook said...

Composting isn't gross at all; it's a great way to healthfully support the growth of your plants. Tossing leftover veggies, coffee, fruits, etc. into landfills in sealed plastic bags that don't let them decompose instead of using those things to encourage green growth--that's such a waste of resources and a waste of landfill space.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you and your arborist should come to my sad-looking yard! I'm using our crummy Midwestern weather as my excuse.

London said...

Any one have any advice on weeds? I've currently declarded war on the weeds in my yard, and right now, the weeds are winning!
Just yesterday I noticed a wall of 4-foot tall weeds. I try my best to get them from the roots, but each year from they multiply! Great post Ashley! As for composting - I think I'm going to give it a try once we buy a home. You can use the decomposed "dirt" later in your garden, which I think would be quite rewarding and save you money!

Ashley said...

As for weeds, I started putting down Preen Weed Preventer every few months, and it’s definitely made a big improvement. It’s probably not the most eco-friendly solution, but it does save me a lot of weeding labor. And I’m careful not to use it in the areas where we grow our vegetables.

Also, plain old Roundup does the trick in the driveway cracks and in between bricks on our patio. Again, I’m sure Roundup is super-toxic and horrible for the environment, so if anyone’s aware of other equally effective and not-so-bad-for-the-Earth products, I’m all ears.