3/26/13

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How to Prepare Your Garden for Summer

As the drab, gray colors of winter begin to give way to the vibrant colors of spring, now is a great time to begin thinking about your garden. Whether you enjoy growing flowers, vegetables, or other plants, you should begin preparing your garden now. To help you out, we sought out expert advice from Garden of the Gods Club’s horticulturist, Gary Schwieterman. Read on to take advantage of his helpful tips for getting your garden ready for spring and summer.

Garden of the Gods Club Horticulturist Gary Scwieterman holds a young plant that is ready to be transplanted.

Gary Schwieterman holds a young plant that is ready to be transplanted.

1. Fertilize early. “Your garden’s soil needs ample nutrients in order to produce healthy plants, fruits, veggies, or flowers,” Gary said. “Late March and early April are the best times to begin fertilizing the ground. I prefer peat moss or compost for gardens,” he continued, “and I suggest working it into the ground with a rototiller.”

2. Water your garden adequately. After you fertilize your garden, be sure to give it a few extra drinks of water. “Now is the time when bulb plants like tulips and daffodils start to come up,” Gary said. “In order to reach maximum growth, they need extra water. Water your garden once per month during the wintry months. As the weather gets warmer, water once a week,” he added. “Early morning is the best time to water. Once you start watering for the season, be sure to consistently water for the remainder of the season.”

Canna flowers are housed in Garden of the Gods Club's green house until they are ready to be planted.

Canna flowers are housed in our greenhouse until ready for planting.

3. Wait to plant most veggies until after Mother’s Day. “I think the majority of people are in too big a hurry to plant their vegetables,” Gary said. “To give your garden a fighting chance, I think it’s wise to wait until after Mother’s Day to plant items such as tomatoes and cucumbers,” he added. “There’s an old saying that works quite well for remembering what you can plant early, ‘plant your potatoes and peas on St. Patrick’s Day,’” he explained. “Generally, most other vegetables should wait until mid-May.”

4. Don’t forget about indoor plants. “If you enjoy houseplants, take the time to give them some extra TLC,” Gary said. “Now is a great time to prune plants to promote branching and fullness,” Gary continued. “You can also add additional water to houseplants to leach out any extra calcium that may have accumulated in the plant,” he added. “Other options for taking care of houseplants include adding fertilizer to their soil or giving them a gentle shower. The shower should feel like a gentle, cool rain; it will feel cool to your hand.”

Over the course of a year, the horticulture department at Garden of the Gods Club maintains nearly 22,000 plants! In addition to applying Gary’s tips, check out Colorado State University’s helpful timeline for when to plant certain vegetables along Colorado’s Front Range.

What are your own tips and tricks for gardening in Colorado?  Aspiring green thumbs want to know! Please share your ideas in the comment box below.  Enjoy the season!

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