SPRING STARTS WITH COMBO’S
People always want to push spring season way too early, especially when it comes to tomato plants. I have always maintained that spring starts on April 21st, give or take a few days. What this means is that on the 21st you need to watch how the weather is going to act during the next few days and weeks. This does not in any way mean that it is all right to plant your entire garden just because the day happens to be a warm one.
For your early “fix” of spring gardening, you should start by planting large containers with five to seven well established, healthy 4” plants, either of the same variety or a mixture of plants, some that grow up-right and others that stay short or hang down over the pot. Remember to consider whether your spot needs shade or sun plants. Many of the “filler” plants will grow in either location.
Asparagus sprengeri fern, spike and vinca vine have always been the three most favorite “filler” plants but there are so many others now from which to choose. Sweet potato vines in several colors from red to green to pink are now quite popular as will as trailing licorice plants in both, regular or miniature. Many types of grasses are now used in the middle of large pots instead of the traditional spike.
Now is the time to get these pots started as they need plenty of time in which to fill out, but not as much as you might think. They will really surprise you on just how fast they can grow. And it really isn’t as hard, or complicated to plant these combinations, just simply buy a few plants and put them into the soil. A couple of helpful tips would be to be sure and get good potting soil. This means if it only cost $1.99 per 40 lbs., then it is not the soil that you need, even though it is called Potting Soil. You want a good “soiless” mix such as Miracle Grow or Metro Mix, and it costs plenty.
Once you have your pots filled with good soiless soil and you have purchased your plants, it’s time to pot. Do not make the mistake that most amateurs make…do not plant the plants around the outside edge of your pots just because you want them to hang over the rim. Instead, space them evenly around the center placing one plant in the middle with the others close by. As they grow, they will fill-out and grow and hang just the way you had envisioned.
The best part of this early gardening in pots is that most of the time you can leave these plants outside without worry of frost damage. And if the weather changes and threatens temperatures down in the 30’s, you simply move them back inside for a day or three. That is why I plant mine and keep them near the garage door during the early weeks, even though that location is not where I intend to keep them during the summer months. Your plants will always be happier outside where they will grow much more healthier than inside.
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