Right about now, daffodils and tulips are in full bloom making even the simplest of streets beautiful.
People are snatching up the blooms and putting them in vases and arrangements. And some are even heading into garden centers to get those flowers for their garden.
But, in most regions, spring blooming bulbs are best planted in fall to be able to bloom in the spring.
Don’t worry! There are many varieties of spring-planted bulbs that are just as beautiful as your traditional favorites.
Keep your garden thriving and plant bulbs now to have amazing summer color. Wait until the last frost date has passed to plant to ensure your bulbs won’t freeze. Check the tags on your bulbs for planting information or head over to your local garden center for specific region information. Don’t forget to mix your soil with Bulb-Tone to create beautiful big blooms!
Our Favorite Bulbs to Plant this Spring
With a variety of sizes, colors and designs, dahlias have become one of the most popular flowers. Be sure to buy a bunch of bulbs though, it’s hard to plant just one. Bloom time is between mid-July and September. These dazzling beauties will showcase your garden anywhere you plant them. They are technically a tuber, but are planted the same way you would plant a bulb.
Stay on trend this year and plant a lily. With the option of Asiatic, Trumpet or Oriental, or a mixture of the three, your garden will be full of color lasting summer through fall. Look for lilies with the color and pattern to add texture and design. Bloom time is between June and September, depending on variety.
Known as a grandmother’s flower, begonia’s are perfect for any garden. Most people don’t know that the begonia family is quite large, with lots of colors, shapes and sizes. Bloom time starts in mid-July. Since there are so many options with begonias, choose something in the double flower, ruffled double flower or the pendulous varieties.
This eye-catching flower will add wonder to your garden. Calla lilies are elegant and timeless and perfect for containers. They come in a large variety of colors and textures to match every style. Bloom time is between July and October. Grab varieties of calla lilies such as Flame, Captain Marrero or Ruby Sensation for the paintbrush affect.
This exquisite flower is a display itself with its layer upon layer of silky petals. It is similar to a rose and is often considered high end delicacy. One thing to remember is to soak the bulb before planting to encourage growth. Bloom time is between June and August.
Watch below as Laura from Garden Answer shows how to plant bulbs!
April showers bring May flowers. The old saying is true. April is full of rain, but there’s no reason you can’t have flowers before May.
During rainstorms, water gushes out of downspouts, across lawns and gardens. It has a tendency to accumulate in one place and can overwater or even flood a garden. Excessive rain saturates soil, suffocates roots, breaks plants and attracts pests.
However, when you’ve strategically planted for rain, gushing downspouts are no longer a problem. A rain garden is a garden that uses water-loving plants, with strong roots. It helps use rain where it lands instead of letting it run-off into streams, lakes and rivers.
How to Build a Rain Garden:
1. Choose your location
Measure out at least 10 feet from your home. Keep your new garden away from septic systems. Find somewhere with a natural downgrade, away from the house, if possible. If your garden is level, then find a place where soil is already absorbing water easily. Stay away from soil that holds moisture for an extended period of time.
2. Create a design
Measure the size and shape of the area. Once you determine what you are working with, you can begin planning what to plant. Plan out what looks best to the eye first, while keeping in mind the plants that do best with wet feet should be in the middle.
3. Choose your plants
Since each region gets a different amount of rainfall, native plants tend to do best. You will want plants that do well in wet and dry conditions. Rainfall will add up occasionally over the year, but the soil can dry out in the warmer months. Choose plants that don’t mind having wet roots for extended periods of time such as blue fescue grass, daylilies, elderberry and tupelo trees. Look for water-resistant natives such as black chokeberry, meadowsweet shrubs, Joe-Pye weed, Colorado blue spruce, bayberry, ferns and winterberry. Check out your local garden center for tips on the best plants for your region.
4. Prepare the soil
As all gardeners know, it starts with the soil. Good drainage is key to prevent water from sitting. If your soil needs a fresh start, or to be amended, add Espoma’s Garden Soil to help set your rain garden up for success. Further improve drainage by using pervious surfaces, edging puddles and creating paths through low-lying areas with sand or stones.
5. Get ready for rain
It’s time to plant! Get your plants in the ground and watered in to stabilize them. Water every other day for two weeks to get it ready for a heavy rainfall and watch your garden grow!
Planning your garden will keep your garden running smoothly.
Prefer a vegetable garden? Here’s how to plan.
The start of May brings colorful blooms and lush foliage to your garden. With summer right around the corner, that means there’s only more to come! Now is the best time to prep for your favorite fruits, veggies and flowers.
Here are a few things you can do this month to prep your garden for the summer growing season:
- Tidy Your Garden – As always, one of the best ways to prep your garden for a new season is to clean it up. Remove weeds, prune existing plants and rake away old leaves and excess debris. Now you have a fresh start for planting new blooms and crops.
- Harvest Early Spring Crops – If your garden is full of cool weather veggies from earlier this year, harvest now and enjoy. Go ahead and enjoy the crisp crunch of radishes and fresh salad greens. Plus, you’ll have more room to grow summer veggies.
- Plan Ahead – Before getting started, create a garden plan of what you want to grow and where. Different plants thrive in different climates, so research the best ones for your garden.
- Get planting! – Make a trip to your favorite garden center and round up your favorite summer plants. We’re big fans of planting summer veggies like cucumbers, peppers and summer squash. First, check to make sure that you’re clear of frost and then start planting. Use an organic plant food like Espoma’s Garden-tone to encourage healthy growth.
- Transfer Seedlings – If you started seeds indoors earlier this spring, transfer them outdoors in May if the weather permits. Be sure to harden off seedlings to get them used to the outdoors. Then gently remove plants from containers without damaging the roots. To keep seedlings strong, plant in a prepared bed and mix in organic starter plant food, such as Espoma’s Bio-tone Starter Plus.
Be sure to keep your new plants happy and healthy all summer long with the proper nutrients and water. Then, get ready to enjoy your harvest!
Raise new plants that grow as big and mighty as Jack’s Beanstalk with these five tips for planting success. Your new plants will look so perfect your neighbors will think you plucked them right from a fairy tale!
Before you even think about picking up your garden trowel, check out these tips.
Say Yes to Success: 5 Tricks for Planting New Flowers, Veggies and More
1. Start with the Best. Make sure you have the right light, space and soil for each plant. Then select plants with shiny, blemish-free leaves that you can easily lift out of the container.
2. Royal Soil. Before planting, test the soil and add necessary amendments. If your soil is lacking, your plants will be too. For an extra oomph, add Espoma Organic Vegetable & Flower Garden Soil or compost to the planting hole. And if direct sowing seeds, mix in an organic seed starting potting soil, so seeds can take root easily.
3. Feed Now… and Later. When planting, mix in an organic starter plant food. Adrianna, an Espoma customer, loves Bio-tone Starter Plus. She can even tell “when the roots begin to take up the plant food because they start to grow MUCH faster.” Bio-tone Starter Plus’ secret is mycorrhizae, which promotes bigger blooms and helps plants get established faster.
4. Stay Strong Seedlings. Before moving indoor seedlings outside, toughen them up. Otherwise, they may not make it. To help seeds adjust, begin hardening them off two weeks before transplanting. How-to instructions here.
5. Don’t Forget to Water. While still in their nursery containers, water your plants. Then water deeply after planting. Water reduces plants’ stress levels and helps them adjust to their happy, new abode.
Get ready, your organic flowers, veggies and plants are about to be bigger and healthier than ever! You grow, gardener!
Forget farm-to-table. Back-yard-to-table is the next big thing.
While it’s easy to buy strawberries at the grocery store anytime of the year, if you’ve tasted a freshly picked berry, you know fresh is best. In a single bite, you can instantly taste the difference.
Through the rise of farmers markets, we’ve been able to get back in touch with our food and our farmers. These markets not only help us to know where our food comes from, but to also to learn more about nutrition, cooking and agriculture.
Growing your own, organic vegetable garden is easier than you think. And, you’ll save hundreds of dollars on groceries. Plus, it’s so rewarding to taste the food you nurtured and know exactly how it was grown.
If you’re just starting out, try growing organic herbs. They grow like crazy and don’t require much work.
If you’ve got kids, plant tomatoes. Eating them fresh off the vine teaches your children where their food comes from and encourages healthy eating habits. Besides, even the pickiest eaters will be much more likely to eat what they grow.
And, if you just want to get into organics, follow these tips for getting started. It’s the healthiest thing you can do for yourself and your family.
Soon, your family will be eating more organic food. Follow our Pinterest board for easy, fresh and organic recipes, too!
At Espoma Organic, we’ve spent decades sharing the benefits of natural, organic gardening. Believe us, taking care of yourself and the planet is well worth it. After all, food should come from the ground, not from a bag.
Share below why you think organic produce and gardening is important.
Forget dried, stale or store-bought herbs. There’s a cheaper, closer and fresher alternative.
Plant an herb container garden near your kitchen or next to the grill.
Having fresh, organic herbs right where you cook makes them easier to incorporate into any meal.
With just a few snips, fresh herbs will invigorate your cooking. With just one bite, you’ll instantly taste the difference. Plus, you can use fresh herbs in unexpected ways, like flavoring olive oil, tea or water
Whether you garden in a large space or a small apartment, an herb container garden is convenient and delicious!
All you need to cook up your next great dish is a sunny spot, a roomy container, the best organic potting mix and your favorite herbs.
First decide which (and how many) herbs to grow. Check old grocery lists or recipes to see which herbs you buy the most but especially spend the most money on. Choose those and grow some just for fun like relaxing lavender and lemon balm!
Most herbs will work in a container but the best herbs to plant in containers are: Basil, Mint, Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano, Cilantro, Parsley, Sage, Chives, Lavender, Tarragon, Lemon Verbena
Now pick a container with drainage holes. With container gardens, you can buy a modern or traditional container or get creative and use found objects.
Grouping herbs together that like the same amount of water, light and soil in the same container.
How many herbs you should plant in one container? There’s no hard and fast rule. Use your judgment and read the plant tags.
Go ahead and arrange containers on your deck, patio or any place that’s easy to access when you’re cooking. The area should get between 6-8 hours of sunlight a day.
Once your containers placed, fill half-way with a high-quality, organic potting mix such as Espoma’s Organic Potting Mix. Since you’ll be eating and serving them, organic potting soil is a must!
Now arrange the herbs to your liking! Try 3 or 4 different placements before planting. Read the plant tags to see how big the plants will get, too. And just like those class photos, the tallest go in the back!
Once you’re happy with where the herbs are, fill the rest of the container with Espoma’s Organic Potting Mix. For a two gallon container, add 1 cup of Espoma’s Organic Bio-Tone Starter Plus to the top 4-6” of soil. For a five gallon container, add two cups.
Pat the soil to firm and remove air bubbles.
Feeding herbs with an organic fertilizer regularly promotes bigger plants, so you’ll have a bigger harvest. Bio-Tone Starter Plus is a microbe enhanced all natural plant food that will help your herbs to establish quickly.
Give your herb containers 1” of water a week.
Harvest herbs often! The more you pick, the more they’ll grow. Don’t you just love plants like that?
What herbs are you planting this year? Share your favorites by commenting below!
Evergreens — the name says it all. These plants and shrubs add color to your garden all year long, even in the dead of winter!
Though, we admit there’s one evergreen we love most: boxwoods.
Boxwood shrubs do it all. They’re super easy to care for, stay green all winter and are deer resistant.
These shrubs add instant definition, structure and privacy to outdoor spaces. Plus, boxwood shrubs morph into any shape when pruned. If an artful topiary isn’t for you though, they look just as beautiful when pruned slightly or left to grow free-form.
As easy as these shrubs are, there’s one BIG mistake people make when growing boxwood.
All too often, people believe that Holly-tone fertilizer is the feeding solution for boxwoods, just like they do with other evergreens. But that’s not the case.
While boxwood is part of the evergreen family, there’s one thing that makes them different. Most evergreens need to be fed Holly-tone, an organic fertilizer for acid-loving plants. But, boxwood — and arborvitaes — are evergreen shrubs that are not acid-loving plants. So, they need an all-purpose plant food.
Avoid the #1 mistake people make when growing boxwood. Fertilize your boxwood with an organic all-purpose plant food to keep them a healthy green. Plus, feeding these shrubs in early spring helps them fight off disease all season.
How to Feed Established Boxwood:
To see how much fertilizer your boxwood needs, measure the width of your boxwood with a tape measure.
For each foot, use 1 cup of Espoma Plant-tone. For example if your boxwood is 4’ wide, use 4 cups of organic plant food.
Then, sprinkle around the boxwood’s drip line, which is a circle formed around the shrub’s widest branch.
How to Feed New Boxwood:
If you want to add a border or line a path, boxwood is just what you’re looking for. Go ahead and get planting.
Boxwood grows best in zones 6-8. As always before planting, make sure the area you’d like to plant matches the plant’s likings. Read that plant tag! Most boxwood need full to partial sun and well-drained soil.
Once you’ve found the perfect spot and the perfect boxwood, it’s time to plant.
Dig a hole as deep and twice as wide as the root ball. Scoop a handful of soil to test, too. Boxwood needs a soil pH between 6 and 7. If your pH is too low, add Espoma Organic Garden Lime. If your soil pH is higher than 7, amend with Espoma Organic Soil Acidifier.
Now, loosen roots and position boxwood in the hole.
Then, fill the rest of the hole with amended soil or Espoma Garden Soil.
Lightly water now, and continue watering once a week during spring and summer.
Finally, make the boxwood look right at home by adding 2-3” of mulch to control weeds and conserve water.
Boxwood transforms any area into a defined, stately space. Soon, these beautiful evergreens will even be dotted with sweet, white blooms.
What’s your favorite evergreen? Comment below to share!