Monday, May 7, 2012

6 Tips for Gardening

Anyone else have gardening on their mind?  I'm so blessed with a huge yard, all the landscaping rock I could possibly want {Montana sandstone!}, readily available compost and well, manure, and lots of "gardening mentors" who offer me all sorts of plants to try.  Here are 6 great ways to get inspired to start gardening, or garden more!

{my very weedy flower bed last year...}

1.  Ask friends and family.  Spring is a great time to spilt plants and transplant perennials. I've filled my flower beds with tons of freebies from friends and family who would probably otherwise be tossing them out. Plus, you get a bonus of using plant varieties that are highly likely to be zone hardy and grow well! You would be surprised at what you may receive; I wondered aloud about a strawberry that would work well in the mountains, and a week later I had over 50 strawberry plants from a friends' patch.

2.  Know Your Zone.  In a recent Better Homes and Gardens article, it explains the importance of understanding your planting zone and a handy zone calculator to help you build your gardens based on the correct zone.  I'm currently in between zones 3-4, which means we get pretty cold, but not a ton of moisture.  In fact, my last frost date for this summer is June 9th!

3.  Try, try again. This is my gardening mantra, because I have found that lots of plants will work in a protected bed with nice soil, but they aren't quite ready for the rocky, windy area by my vegetable garden. And I still have yet to find a hydrangea that will winter. For me, that's part of the thrill of gardening that I learned from my grandfather.

4. Go local! I am lucky to have a fabulous nursery about 30 miles from our ranch, and a couple of really great greenhouses too. A local, zone-specific nursery is going to be a wonderful source of gardening information, and lots of people willing to help get you beautiful plants to your home. Check out websites, get on a newsletter list, and follow through social media; my very favorite nursery often offers great specials throughout the growing season!

5.  Check online nurseries too. I tried this last year, just to say I tried it. I first ordered through Spring Hill Nursery, which has some mixed reviews online, but I was actually really happy with them.  I am waiting a couple weeks to see if everything I ordered actually comes back, but for the most part, my early perennials look great! My favorite purchase was the Hardy Mum Collection!  I also ordered from Direct Gardening, which was average.  Everything was really cheap, but also came as bareroot as you can get. I would heartily suggest checking local first, but online is always worth a try if you can't find what you are looking for.

6.  Involve the kids. My kids love to help in the garden, even if it is just digging for worms. There are lots of jobs that even toddlers can do, like watering the plants with a hose or watering can, that also can help with you with the load of gardening chores. Our very favorite is harvesting from our vegetable garden, as my girls would just eat peas off the vine, and my youngest even chomped on raw zucchini for a little treat.

How about some tips from you? I know there are some fabulous gardeners out there!!


  1. Thanks for the GREAT gardening tips! I will definitely have to put them to use in our newly labeled "Hamre Property!"

  2. Last year my mom and I went in together and bought 10 hardy mum plants, and they all lived thru the winter and are doing great. And
    Sat winter was not good on my perennials. So they are hardy for sure!