NDSU Extension - Ramsey County


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April 14, 2014 Horticulture Column

Gardening in your yard!! Is it time to get the new plants or what?  Our weather is not ready for any planting; however we can be thinking of the “what to plant, where to plant, how to plant, why would we plant that plant there and who might be interested in helping with our garden project”.  We can answer many of the questions just mentioned by looking at our yard and from past experiences; however I would challenge you to think of new plants to try.  I have done that in the past and have found some plants that will definitely get planted again; attractive, medium height and maintenance free (I love that).  The first question we need to ask is if we are to start any plants which plants need to be started early, a few would be tomato, cucumber, and of course most all flowers we plant and the list can go on forever.  Secondly, think about your space and areas you might like to try to plant a plant for added color or beauty.  No garden there, than maybe consider a raised bed or even pots.  Pots can be used very effectively however need to reminded of the requirements for water and plant growth (will the plant need more space or even will the pot be large enough to support a large tomato or cucumber plant.  I have very successfully grown tomato plants in a pot and used a pot size of four gallons of dirt, maybe a bit short but did very well.  The one very important to thing to remember about a pot is the amount of dirt will very likely require more frequent watering.  Another option is establishing a raised garden.  There is many different looks to include rock borders or wood borders but can be a very rewarding look to your yard or landscape.  In all of the above mentioned growing areas be sure to use a mix of good soil to include a mix of soil, good peat moss and even a little manure compost, easy on the amount of manure compost as it can cause plant injury from too much nitrogen. A good mix of peat moss keeps the soil more “airy” or less compacted and allows the plant to spread its roots more evenly across the pot or growing area. 

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