Planning Before Planting

By: Steven Karback


Spring is the most important planting time here in the west, and nurserymen are hard pressed for time to fill all the orders. It really gives them a break when you give your order in early.
You may be disappointed if your order is a last minute one. Often choicest items will be sold out and you will have to make second choices, or wait for another planting season to secure those special plants you want.
Do your landscape planning in a leisurely manner. Dont wait until the rush of spring to have your yard plan ready. Today, the emphasis in land- scape design is on developing areas for living. A useful, livable and beautiful yard does not come as a result of last minute planning, hap-hazard planting and random placement of garden structures.
Careful landscape planning is the result of studying the needs and wants of the entire family, putting it down on paper, studying it thoroughly from all angles, making alternative plans and then coming up with the best compromise and solution to all the problems.
A plan on paper can be changed readily"but it's very hard and costly to make those changes after the home grounds are planted. After the plants are put in and the structural items built.
Mistakes = Profit
Profit by the mistakes of others. Visit other places where the landscape job seems to be very pleasing and workable. Take note of the plants that are doing well in the vicinity. Join a garden club in your community. Others will be willing to share ideas with you perhaps many that can be used in your own place.
Start your garden planning now!
It is important to check bulbs and roots stored last fall if you have not already done so. Remove any that may show disease or rot that may infect other bulbs and might possibly cause loss of the entire lot.
Dahlia tubers are very susceptible to drying. Perhaps the medium in which they are stored needs some additional moisture. It is important to retain plumpness and vitality in the dahlia tubers to ensure the best crop of flowers this summer.
It is a good idea to examine gladiolus corms to see how they are faring through the winter. If they seem to be shrinking unduly, storage temperatures may be too high. It is good to keep the storage temperature between 35 and 45 degrees if possible, although they can be stored at temperatures up to 55 degrees.
Make sure the corms are not piled too deeply in their storage trays or other containers. Do not keep the corms in airtight containers. By this time, the old corms and roots should have been removed from the new gladiolus corms.
If the corms were treated last fall, its a good idea to give them a light application with an insecticide now. This will help keep the thrips population to a minimum. If thrips multiply rapidly in storage, they may cause serious injury to the corm and to the newly forming root initials and buds.
Some of the slowest growing bedding plants are started as early as February. When you work on your garden planning schedules, make sure that Pansies, salvia and lobelia may be started during the month to insure blooms for early spring and summer. It is best to delay starting many of the other bedding garden plants for another month or two.
There is a tendency on the part of many amateurs (or over-anxious experts!) to start these plants earlier than necessary. No advantage is gained by doing this, and quite often the plants are weakened and stunted before planting time comes around in the spring.

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Find out more as Steven Karback shares his experiences on lawn, garden landscaping, vines and house plants. at www.zone10.com. Now you can remove the confusion in your mind on the topic of garden planning.

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