Starting a garden? Four things you should know

Do the longer days and warmer temperatures make you want to get your hands dirty in the garden? Here are four things beginning gardeners should know:

1. Don’t plant too early

The ground is too cold to direct sow seeds at this time. Cool season veggies can be directly sown the third week of April or planted at the end of April. Countryside has trays, grow lights and all the seeds you need to sprout your garden indoors until it can be transplanted outside. Avoid planting outdoors until the threat of frost is gone. The full moon is April 26 so after that would be good. For warm season veggies, a good rule of thumb is to plant after Memorial Day. Be sure to sign up for Countryside’s e-newsletters as frost warnings are sent out in a timely fashion so customers can take the proper measures to protect their new plantings.

2. Sunlight is key

When starting a new garden, for best results, choose an area that receives at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight. The area should also have well drained soil. Adding compost to the area now and letting it settle in before you plant is ideal as it will provide nutrients to the soil so roots can easily be established. Of note: soil needs to be dry when you add your compost and till. If you grab a handful of soil and it clumps, it is still too wet to work. Worried you don’t have enough sun in the yard? Growing vegetables in containers can be an easy solution. You can place your pots on rolling caddies and move them as the sun shifts later in summer to keep your veggies growing and the fruit maturing in the sun it needs.

3. Spray to keep animals away

Roughly two weeks before you plant your garden, spray repellents. As rabbits and deer look for food, not only will they not like the way this area smells, they will realize there is no food for them there. As you plant in that area, rotate the repellents you use so hungry critters don’t get used to the one you are using.

4. Stimulate root growth with fertilizer

Always use a root stimulating fertilizer, such as Bonide Plant Starter. Whether you plant in the ground or containers, flowers or edibles, a root stimulator is your best bet to obtain good root growth, the foundation of a strong, healthy plant.

For helpful videos by the professional staff at Countryside Flower Shop, Nursery and Garden Center be sure to visit, follow them on Facebook, YouTube or simply stop in and let them help you be successful.

Countryside Flower Shop, Nursery & Garden Center : 5301 E. Terra Cotta Ave (Rte 176), Crystal Lake, IL : 815.459.8130 :

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