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With temperatures rising and more sunny days on the horizon, many of us are turning our attention to outdoor growing spaces, whether for flowers or for food. To help us tackle our to-do lists, we turned to David Munsey, III, of Better Lawns & Gardens for guidance on how to get started. Here, he shares tips for three different types of gardens.
“If you had planted containers over the winter, things are probably starting to look a little frumpy, so pull all of your seasonal, winter things out of your pots, fluff the soil, then you can go ahead and start planting the container,” David says. You’ll also want to make sure you have potting soil and a slow-release fertilizer on hand before you dig in.
When it comes to choosing your plants, David encourages mixing it up to give each one interest. “You want something with height in the middle, then different textures all around, and finally a trailing plant to fall down the side of the container,” he says. For the summer, David recommends palms, coleus, petunias, periwinkle, sweet potato vine, and ivy, as well as Boston ferns.
Like your containers, the first step in prepping flower beds for spring and summer is to cleaning and removal of old plants. “Clean up any leaves that have gathered, pull weeds, and remove winter annuals. Any of that leftover debris from winter, get it out,” he says.
Putting mulch down is the next step to prep for planting. “Get some good hardwood mulch around the root systems. If you wanted to add some shrubs, now is a great time to do that,” he says, encouraging a walk around your local nursery to get an idea for fresh inventory.
For season color, David likes periwinkle, begonias, and petunias for adding a bit of bright curb appeal. He also recommends fertilizing with a slow-release fertilizer with micro-nutrients.
If you grow vegetables in the summer, now is the time to prep that space as well. “You’ll want to till the garden, get it all loosened up, then make a plan for what you’re going to plant,” David says. “I even tell people to get a piece of paper and draw it all out with what will go where.”
For growing produce in an Arkansas climate, David recommends squash, cucumbers, and tomatoes—especially Black Krim, his favorite tomato. “There are so many varieties of tomatoes, and I encourage people to pick a few and try them all. Depending on your soil and how you treat a plant, one might do better than the other,” he says.
While you and your family will enjoy the bounty of a backyard garden, be wary that critters and pests might, too. “A garden is something you need to put eyes on every day,” he says, noting that if you notice nibbles on any of your veggies, there are plenty of natural deterrents available to can keep pests at bay.
When it comes down to it, the most important thing is to enjoy the process, David says. “You don’t even need a yard to have a garden. You can plant any of those flowers or vegetables in a container,” he says. “There’s no rule on what you can plant and update. Get outside and have fun with it.”
David Munsey, III | Better Lawns & Gardens | 501-454-9803 | betterlawnsar.com