It’s National Garden Month, and a garden is a great way to boost your mood and your health. As Americans, we spend an average of 90% of their time indoors, with much of that time spent in front of our computers and phones. If you’re looking for a way to get spend more time outdoors, burn calories and boost your mood, a garden may be just what you need.
Not sure if you have a green thumb? We’ve got some tips to help get your garden off the ground (and in the ground).
BRING YOUR GARDEN TO LIFE WITH THESE TIPS:
Start SimpleGardening can be a time-consuming hobby, so start out small. Try adding a potted plant by your front or back door. Try focusing on one area where you already spend time in your yard. A patio or sitting area can enhance areas where your family congregates or where you entertain guests. Creating a garden space that’s within eyes range of your favorite hangout area rather than putting a flower bed on the side of the house will allow you and your guests to enjoy it all season long.
Outline your garden bed and prepare the soil If you’re digging a flower bed, you’ll want to start by marking the area around the flower bed with string or spray paint. Always call 811 before you dig to find out if there are underground utilities in your backyard. It’s a free service and will help prevent you from causing any costly damages. Next, you’ll want to prep your soil and make sure it has the right nutrients. You can test your soil for pH and basic nutrients so you can add whatever it lacks. You can buy a kit from your local home improvement store or send soil to a testing lab for a more accurate analysis.
Choose your plantsThis is the fun part. Before you buy plants, understand the difference between plant types and the different bloom and lifecycles of each plant. Annual plants have a year-long lifecycle, and typically have a lengthy bloom period, allowing you to enjoy them for longer. Annuals need to be replanted each Spring, so they’re a little higher maintenance. Perennial plants bloom year after year, but they tend to bloom for shorter periods of time. One suggestion is to give your garden a tiered mix of perennials and annuals, with staggered bloom times, so there’s always something in bloom. When picking out your plants, be sure to pay attention to the tags—they will give you directions on how often to water, ideal climate, soil requirements, sunlight need, and more.
Start planting Begin by arranging your flower bed. Make sure you know how big the plants will grow when fully matured so you’re not overcrowding your flower bed. Try layering the plant heights and picking out plants with different textures and shapes.
Add mulch Finish up by adding mulch to your flower bed. Mulch is the icing on the cake and helps to create a barrier to keep unwanted seeds from germinating and growing into weeds.
Don’t have room to create a flower bed? Add potted plants to your outdoor space. Purchase a few large planters and add different plants to your pot to add textures and layers. You can follow the same steps for your planter as with a traditional flower bed.
Make the most out of your time outdoors this spring. Get started on your garden now, and before you know it, you’ll be enjoying all the benefits of your beautiful, new outdoor space.