We are loving these cooler temperatures because we can finally work in the yard without the temptation of the neighbor’s swimming pool. If you’re anything like us, then you are probably just now getting to those weeds that you left behind back in August. While clearing out those fabulous flowerbeds, begin to think about what you can do to prepare for spring flowers.
Flower bulbs are a super easy solution to completing the work now and enjoying the fruits of your labor in the spring. Bulbs should be planted as soon as the ground is cool, when evening temperatures range between 40 – 50 degrees. The ideal planting time is at least six weeks prior to the first freeze. All bulbs have different planting instructions, so be sure to read the labels on the package prior to planting. For instance, crocus bulbs only needs to be planted 4” into the ground, where as an iris may need up to 8” of depth. Bulbs will also benefit from a layer of organic fertilizer such as compost on top of the soil.
Prior to planting your bulbs, think about how you want your flowers to look in the spring. Where do you want your yellows, whites and purples to fall? Would you prefer to have shorter flowers in the front of the flower bed? The pros advise that we plant our bulbs in clusters to really make a color statement. Another tip – plant small bulbs in a layer on top of the large bulbs. If you plant bulbs that flower at different times during the season, you can create a display that blooms in succession and gives you a real punch of color!
Now, if you prefer instant gratification over waiting until the spring, consider planting a fall garden full of greens and root vegetables. You don’t need that much space to accomplish your goals. A 10’ x 10’ patch of land should do. The ideal time to begin planting your garden is 10-12 weeks prior to the first frost. Fast growers include lettuce and radish so they may be good choices at this point in the year. Other great vegetables to assist in weed control are arugula and turnips, which will grow well in the late summer heat and will shade the ground to discourage weeds from growing. Did you know that spinach is frost resistant? Yep, another great green to add to your garden. The most important tip is to start your garden now to benefit from these last few weeks of heat that we will have on the Eastern Shore. Happy planting!