Author: mariestephensgardening

5 Reasons to Mulch Your Garden This Spring

5 Reasons to Mulch Your Garden, the Next Step to Protecting Your Investment: After you finish planting this spring, be sure to mulch everything with 3 inches of shredded bark mulch.  So you ask, “Why mulch?”  Here’s why: Mulching reduces erosion. Don’t let the wind or rain blow or wash away all the lovely top soil you just spent your hard earned dollars on to make your garden grow! Mulching reduces plant disease. Mulching reduces the amount of watering you will have to do. Mulching reduces weed populations. Mulch looks a heck of a lot nicer than bare soil, and is much easier to work with if you want to rearrange plants later on. Mulch prevents soil from splattering up on your siding during a hard rain. Find out if your city has a compost facility. You can usually get great deals on mulch and compost. In Davenport, Iowa, we can get a truckload of shredded bark mulch for $30! Lots cheaper than spending $3 to $4 per bag, eh? Compost only costs us about …

Ultimate Guide for How to Acclimate Your Seedlings to the Outdoors

jjjj Why is it important for seedlings to be exposed to the outdoors? The air movement and light is important for development of strong stems, promoting leaf growth, and healthy root growth Also important for preventing root rot, disease, and mold If weather does not allow for setting your seedlings outside, you can also set them in a sunny window with a circulating fan set on low about 5 feet away from the trays. Remember to rotate the trays so your seedlings will not grow crookedly as they reach for sunlight. Why is it important to move seedlings outside gradually? Young seedlings that have been started indoors, are very sensitive to extremes in light, temperature, moisture, and wind. Too much shock early on can cause your seedlings to be stressed, which makes them more prone to diseases, and vulnerable to insects, all of which can cause stunting, rot, or death. Introducing seedlings for limited amounts of time to the outdoors during gentle conditions will prepare them for the tougher days ahead, without killing them before …

When is the Best Time to Put Down Crab Grass Preventer?

According to my horticulturist husband, the answer is…..”When the Forsythias are in bloom!” What is a Forsythia Bush? Phenology is the study of recurring events in the life cycle of different species and learning how such events are interrelated throughout that species and other species. Forsythias reach full bloom when soil temps get up to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Coincidentally, Crab Grass seeds also germinate when the soil temps are at 55degrees Fahrenheit! Therefore, those yellow flowers blooming on forsythia bushes as a phenological symbol, or nature signal, telling you, “Hey! It’s time to throw down some Crab Grass preventer!” The above link is an affiliate link. Gardenshapers earns a commission on all purchases made from clicking this link. Thanks for supporting our site!

First Blooms

Zone 4 Annuals and Perennials in a Boarder Garden

How to Design and Prepare Your Own Garden For Planting

Creating a Garden Border: When should I start in the spring? You can start planning indoors on paper in January Outdoor work can begin as early as March in the Midwest, or as soon as the ground is thawed.  The layout work can be done as long as there’s no snow on the ground so you can see what you are doing. Planting is best to be done in the spring for Herbaceous Perennials.  Trees and shrubs can be planted in the spring, or fall for the best success rate.  You can still plant in the summer, but you have to be religious about remembering to water to protect your green investments! 10 Steps to Getting That Garden Started: Be sure to have all your utility lines flagged before you start! Lay out the flower bed with a garden hose to achieve the shape. Then spray Roundup on the grass now to kill it off. Or, if you don’t want to mess w/Roundup, lay out the bed w/garden hose…spraypaint the border, Rent a sod cutter …