Spring Gardening Tips
- Order seeds and start them in late winter/early spring and follow germination guides on packets.
- Search for the rare plants you would like to try this year and order them as early as possible. Many nurseries will hold them and ship after late frost dates.
- Start vegetable, herbs, and flower seeds now for greater seasonal performance. Most require sterile soil, 14 hours of light, (keep lights two inches above seedlings), limited moisture, and warmth of 70-80 degrees.
- Flowers from bulbs may be cut when they are just past the tight bud stage. Cut in the morning and plunge into deep cold water. Remove faded blooms to prevent seeds from forming.
- Spring is the ideal season to dig and plant new trees and shrubs due to increased rainfall. Never plant too deep or level which means over the crown. Mulch and stake if needed. You may want to fertilize those that are already established.
Check all trees for disease, stress and pests such as borers, scale, and other insects.
Summer Gardening Tips
Annuals & Perennials
- Both annuals and perennials should be “deadheaded” to encourage blooming and eliminate re-seeding. Pinch annuals to rejuvenate and promote branching.
- Most perennials need to be divided to invigorate growth and maintain health, but some should never be divided. If you are going to divide, do it during a non-blooming time, in fall when plants are going dormant or in spring (except spring blooming plants) when plant is 2”-3”. Signs of needed division include an empty space in the middle of crown, smaller and fewer blooms, and/or a crowded appearance.
- Plants need 1” of water per week. It’s better to water deeply once a week than to water a small amount everyday. Water at ground level not from overhead. Plants may need more water during their first year while they become established.
- Monitor your plants to find the first signs of pests and be proactive. Determine what type of pest is causing the problem and research the appropriate way to eliminate it before applying anything. Know the type of plant you have put in the ground and the type of pests and diseases to which it is susceptible. Provide the proper environment for your particular plant so that it is less susceptible to pests and diseases.
- After a hard frost, cut annuals down to the ground and cut perennials to just above the ground. Some plants may provide winter interest. Dead plant material is an excellent addition to a compost or mulch pile.
Fall Gardening Tips
Plant spring flowering bulbs such as daffodils, tulips, hyacinth, and crocus in October and early November before the ground freezes.
- To improve soil fertility, apply a layer of organic material, such as compost to garden beds.
- Dig up other bulbs such as cannas, tuberous begonias, gladioli, and caladium for winter storage.
- Weather permitting, prepare beds for spring planting.
- Consider potting bulbs for indoor winter forcing.
After the ground freezes, apply mulch around perennials. For trees and shrubs, spread the mulch 2”-4” thick being sure to cover the area under the canopy. Keep mulch away from tree trunks and the crowns of shrubs. (Remember, boughs from Christmas trees can have a second life when they are used after the holidays for mulching perennials.)
Winter Gardening Tips
Only prune when and if it is necessary such as when trying to maintain and promote plant health, removing dead or diseased wood, influencing flower and fruit production, directing growth, and improving the safety or aesthetics of the living environment.
- Be aware of the flowering and fruiting time of the specimen and whether it blooms on old or new wood. These factors determine the best time for pruning.
- In winter, attempt to prune when it is not too cold and before the plant breaks dormancy. Do not prune if there is a layer of ice covering the wood.
OSU Extension Fact Sheets
Rodale’s All New Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening
Pruning by Susan Land and the editors of Sunsets Book