How to Plant a Garden
1. Prepare the soil.
If you have grass growing in the place where you plan to have your garden, it is important to remove it before putting your plants in the ground. Grass is resilient stuff and will return, crowding out your garden plants.
Using a flat-headed shovel, dig up the sod and put it in your mulch pile (or use it to fill in bare spots in your yard). Be careful to leave as much topsoil as possible. If you are installing a path or border, now is the time to put it in the ground.
|If you have a lot of grass, stick to low borders such as partially-buried bricks, flagstones, and plastic garden borders. They are easy to mow over. Taller borders, such as flagstone walls, river rocks, and fences will require the use of a weed-whacker.|
Leaving the plants in their pots, set them out on the ground and look at their arrangement. Move them around. Try the tall fern in the middle, then try it on the right or the left. This is your chance to play with the garden and get it just the way you want it. Make sure you leave enough room for the plants to grow to their estimated size. You will find this information on the plant's tag.
3. Dig your holes.
Once you have the arrangment you want, start digging your holes. Start at the back of the garden and work your way out. Dig a hole twice the size of the root system of each plant. Remove the plant from its pot and gently massage the roots of the plant to dislodge them from their pot-shape.
4. Place your plant.
Place the plant into the hole and refill the hole with loose dirt. (Certain plants may require that a soil amendment be added here, such as peat moss or root stimulator). Firmly pat down the dirt around the plant. If you leave too much air circulation, the roots could dry out.
Try to place the plant in approximately the same depth as it was in the nursery pot. In other words, don't bury too much of the stem and conversely, don't allow any roots to be exposed above-ground.
Give each plant a generous watering. Make sure that your new plants get water on a regular basis for the first few weeks. New plants, even drought-tolerant ones, are susceptible to early death if left to dry out.
Plants that thrive on rich soil will also appreciate a scoop of compost around their roots. As rain falls, nutrients in the compost will leach through the soil, nourishing the plant's roots. You will be rewarded with a healthier, happier plant.
6. Mulch it.
This is an important step. Cover the dirt in your new garden with a thick layer of wood mulch. Wood mulch does two things. It helps the soil stay cool and moist, by blocking the sun's powerful rays. It also helps to keep weeds down. You can buy a big bag of wood mulch at any nursery for about five bucks.
|Periodically inspect your plants for problems, such as weeds, insect infestations, and root fungi.|
6. Enjoy your garden!
If you have chosen plants that will thrive in your yard's conditions, you should have a beautiful, low-maintenance garden for years to come.
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