SPRINGTIME PLANTING WEEK: PREPARING
Now that you’ve planned ahead, it’s time to move forward to the actual “doing!” Adequate preparation will make your landscaping experience exponentially more enjoyable and successful. Here are some steps to take as you prepare to plant:
Kill or remove the grass: If you plan to make a new planting area, you’ll want to plan ahead to kill or remove the grass/sod from your planting areas. There is no general agreement about which method is best, but people typically use either a chemical herbicide or deprive the area of light using cardboard for an extended period of time. If you choose to dig out the sod, and in general, it’s essential to make sure that the soil is graded away from the house to ensure water does not accumulate near the foundation.
Gather materials: Make a list of the materials you will need for your garden, such as soil, compost, seeds, and tools. You may also want to consider adding decorative elements such as garden ornaments or trellises. Here are some of the basic tools you will need:
Garden spade or shovel: A garden spade or shovel is essential for digging holes to plant your perennials. Look for a high-quality spade or shovel with a sturdy handle and a sharp blade.
Trowel: A hand trowel is useful for digging small holes, especially if you are planting smaller perennials or plants in tight spaces.
Garden gloves: It’s a good idea to wear gloves while planting to protect your hands from thorns, prickly stems, or other hazards.
Watering can or hose: You will need to water your perennials regularly after planting, so make sure you have a watering can or hose handy.
Mulch: Applying a layer of mulch around your perennials after planting can help retain moisture in the soil and prevent weeds from growing.
Pruning shears: You may need to trim back any dead or damaged foliage on your perennials before planting them, so keep a pair of pruning shears or scissors handy.
Manure and Peat Moss: (see below):
Prepare your soil: If your soil is of poor quality, you may want to amend the soil as needed to ensure that it is suitable for the plants you plan to grow. A combination of bagged peat moss and manure (easily found in many stores) is a good alternative to sophisticated testing and fertilizing. After you dig a hole at least twice the size of the plant, mix in ⅓ manure and ⅓ peat moss with ⅓ the soil you just removed to fill the hole in. This will allow plants to adjust and get established more easily.
Purchase the plants: If you plan to grow from seed, buy seeds and start according to the directions. For annual and perennial plants, most people prefer to buy established plants from greenhouses (be sure to shop local!).
Some great local places to order landscaping supplies:
Kalamazoo Landscape Supplies (Kalamazoo, MI): https://klsupplies.com/
Mattawan Landscaping Supply (Mattawan, MI): https://www.mattawanlandscapingsupply.com/
Adent’s Landscape Supply, Inc. (Stevensville, MI): https://www.adentslandscapesuppliesinc.com/
Autumn Ridge Stone and Landscape Supply (Holland, MI): https://www.autumnridgestone.com/
What’s your favorite place to pick up landscaping supplies? Let us know in the comments!