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Veggie & Flower Garden How-To Guide

By: Rachel Elmakiss

Spring has sprung and it is time to start planning your gardens for the season! Spring and summer in Arkansas is a wonderful time for planting all sorts of flowers and edible plants. It can be overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time gardening. That’s why Cantrell Gardens is here to help set you up with everything you need for a successful season!

Getting Started

1. Where will you be planting your flowers or your veggies?

With flowering plants, planning the ‘where’ depends mostly on whether you’ll be planting in the sun or in the shade, and then making your decisions from there. With vegetables, you will need a space that is very sunny and protected from strong winds to plant your garden.

2. What will you be planting in?

When planting flowers, perennials work great in-ground or in beds, as they’ll come back every year. While annuals can be grown in-ground and in beds, pots are a great option as you can change out your plants with every season. For vegetables, you can plant in the ground or use pots, but we’ve found that raised beds work best for vegetable gardens.

3. What will you be planting with?

What you are planting in will decide what soils you will need. If you are planting in-ground in Arkansas, you will need to refresh the soil, usually with compost. For pots and containers, you can use a potting soil or mix; when planting vegetables in containers, you will want to use a 50/50 mixture of organic compost and topsoil. This will make sure your soil is draining well and nutrient rich. With raised beds, regular potting soil will work fine for flowering plants. Vegetables will be happy with either the 50/50 mix or an organic planting or garden soil.

4. What will you feed your plants?

Generally, if you are planting in a container or pot, you’ll want to use a granular fertilizer, but for in ground or beds, you’ll want to find a good water-soluble fertilizer. There are several options of fertilizers for both flowers and annuals. The main thing to look for in a flower fertilizer is a higher percentage of phosphorus to encourage the blooms. For vegetables, an organic and well balanced fertilizer is recommended (we like Espoma Biotone). Now that you’ve covered the basics, you’re ready to select your plants and start planting!

It is still early spring, so unless you have a warm greenhouse, be careful to start with cool-weather plants. Here are some of our suggestions as to what to start planting this April:

Edible Plants

∗ Broccoli & Cauliflower
∗ Greens (Spinach, Kale, Lettuce)
∗ Carrots & Onions
∗ Lavender & Rosemary
∗ Mint, Chives, &Thyme
∗ Strawberries
∗ Citronella & Lemon Grass

Pansies (A) (through spring)

∗ Geraniums (A)
∗ Calibrachoa & Petunias (A)
∗ Dianthus & Snapdragons (A)
∗ Marigolds (A)
∗ Daylilies (P)
∗ Verbena & Milkweed (P)
∗ Dusty Miller, Creeping Jenny, and Moneywort (Companions to flowers)

It’s also a great time to start your seeds! Remember to check each packet of seeds as to specific timing and instructions, but April is a wonderful month to plant for spring and summer. Seeds can be started in-ground, in containers, or in plastic cartons. Make sure to keep your seeds well watered and you’ll have sprouts in no time!

As new seasons roll in, there will continue to be even more plants available! Keep in mind your placement of annuals and perennials when designing your gardens. Don’t forget “Thriller, Filler, and Spiller” or that your plantings contain ‘Tall, Bushy, and Trailing’ forms, especially for pots. Should you need more information, our knowledgeable staff at Cantrell Gardens is always ready to help!

For more information call us today!

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