A raised be garden make any gardening task easier. You can fill your beds with your own soil that is primed to grow plants in. A basic raised bed garden can be built in the matter of a few hours and quick trip to the hardware store. I suggest using redwood or cedar for your sides because they will resist rot and add beauty to your garden.
HOW TO BUILD A RAISED BED GARDEN
- To Prepare the site get rid of the turf and weeds.
- Outline the bed dimensions on the ground with a chalk line or string.
- Dig with vertical strokes along the outline, just deep enough to bury about half of your first course of lumber.
- Put down a layer of weed-suppressing landscape fabric that extend to the outer edge of the wood frame.
- Build each of your walls separately.
- Fasten the walls together and put them into place.
- Install your cap railing that will run around the outside and tie everything together.
- Use galvanized pipe straps to mount 1 inch PVC pipe inside the bed walls. Cut 1/2 inch flexible PVC tubing twice as long as the beds width. Bend it, mount it and clip a cover in place.
- A simple framework of hoops and lightweight cover can extend your growing season in cool areas, conserve moisture in dry areas and protect plants from birds or insects.
- Install your irrigation system and then backfill with topsoil.
People love Calla Lilies and I understand their shape and colors make them a beautiful choice for summer color. Calla Lilies aren’t overly complicated but in order to grow them in colder climates like here in New York they will require a little love and attention.
PLANTING CALLA LILIES OUTDOORS
In the spring when the danger of the last frost has passed find find a place of full to partial shade to grow you callas. Out West and down South you will want to choose areas with partial light so that the calla lilies don’t dry out as quickly.
CALLA LILY SOIL PREPARATION
Calla lilies need nutrient rich and most soils, so the first step will be to till the soil and amend it with organic mulch or mushroom compost. If the area in your garden where you intend to plant the calla is overly sandy or rocky you will want to make sure to add more organic material.
PLACING CALLA LILY TUBERS
Calla lily tubers should be place 3 to 4 inches down in the ground and 12 inches apart. When you place the tubers in the ground be sure to place them in horizontally, with the growth points facing up.
You can start Calla Lily tubers indoors several weeks before the last frost. In 12 inch pots you can place 12 tubers and once the last frost has passed you can simply dig the pots into the garden and let them grow all year.
CARING FOR CALLA LILIES DURING THE GROWING SEASON
Calla Lilies are a tropical plants and are used to moist soils, in order to keep yours happy you will need to make sure that the soil around your calla lilies doesn’t dry out. To make sure that the callas have all the nutrients they need watering them with with a water-soluble general plant fertilizer (like this one). When the flowers begin to form you may want to increase the amount of fertilizer you apply, this is the time when the plants are most in need of nutrients.
WINTERING CALLA LILY TUBERS
After the flowers have passed you will want to stop fertilizing the plant so that the tubers will enter a dormancy period. Depending on your U.S. Hardiness Zone you may be able to overwinter them outdoors. Calla Lily tubers are hardy up to zone 9, but zone 8 can keep them outdoors if they are covered in a layer of mulch throughout the winter. I’ve even heard of them being overwintered in zone 7 given enough mulch. Here in New York I pull the bulbs before the first frost every fall.
After you dig up the bulbs prune back the growth to within a half inch from the tuber and place them in sand or a dry peat moss. During the winter try and store them in an area that will stay between 60 and 75 degrees. If you are growing your Calla Lilies in containers all year long you can simply unearth the pots and bring them indoors for storage. Make sure to keep the pots completely dry during the winter until you are ready to start growing them again in the spring.
Daffodils are one of those plants that let you know that Spring has finally arrived. These are really easy plants to add to your garden as well, simply plant them a few inches below the ground in fall and in late winter or early spring you will have beautiful colors. Daffodils come in two colors, yellow and white with a number of varieties that mix colors in different ways. These beautiful bulbs grow in almost all of the US for the southern most parts of Florida.
USING DAFFODILS IN THE GARDEN
Daffodils lend themselves to many different garden settings because of the limited time of growing. The most stunning use of Daffodils for me is when they are used in mass planting. The fact that they flower so early means you could plant a large number of daffodils right in a lawn and by the time you need to mow the flowers are ready to be cut down. They also lend themselves to being tucked away into little open pockets in your garden or in woodland settings. Daffodils are also a popular choice for cut flower gardens and as a plant to forcing to bloom indoors.
Daffodils prefer full sun but can tolerate a small amount of shade. Daffodils are pretty tolerant when it comes to soil composition but you will want to check your specific bulb requirements when you purchase them. The soil conditions in the spring during the growing season should be moist but well draining. For the most part most daffodil varieties you will run into like neutral to slightly acidic soils but on rare occasion some varieties prefer alkaline soils.
SOME DAFFODILS PLANTING POINTERS
- When you pick out bulbs check to make sure they are still moist.
- If you’re picking bulbs in person choose a bag with the biggest bulbs.
- Daffodil planting times are 2 to 4 weeks before the ground freezes. In NY that generally around Thanksgiving.
- Daffodil planting depth is 1.5 to 5 time their height. I like to place a light layer of leaves over them to keep severe winters from harming the bulbs.
- For proper spacing keep them 3 to 6 inches apart but it your garden is tight you can crowd them a little bit more.
- Depending on your soil conditions it might be a good idea to add some bulb fertilizer.
- When your daffodils do begin to pop in the spring don’t help them out by uncovering them, a surprise frost may damage your daffodils.
HOW TO CARE FOR DAFFODILS
- If daffodils are underperforming applying a low-nitrogen and high-potash fertilizer (like this one).
- If the spring weather hasn’t brought much rain be sure to water in order to keep the soil moist. If the daffodil bulbs dry out they flowers may die-off.
- As flower heads die-off you can deadhead them to keep the dead flowers from ruining your garden aesthetics.
- Once the daffodils finish flowering wait at least 6 weeks until you prune them back to the ground. These 6 weeks allow the bulbs to collect energy for the next bloom.
- Daffodil bulbs will multiply and become crowded eventually. When that happens you need to dig up and divide the bulb clusters
- Adding Bone Meal ( Found Here)
- Daffodils don’t attract any of the regular garden pests from deer to rodents.
- Commons enemies of daffodils are narcissus bulb fly, bulb scale mite, narcissus nematode, slugs, narcissus basal rot and a few other fungal infections.
THE TOP DAFFODIL VARIETIES I RECOMMEND
The Daffodil ‘ Golden Ducat’ has true yellow colored double petals. The height is anywhere from 12 to 16 inches and blooms in mid to late spring.
The Daffodil ‘Petit Four’ is a popular option for those gardeners that want to add daffodils to a shady area. The flowers double cups of apricot pink stand out with white petals. These daffodils average a height of 16 inches.
Daffodil ‘Rip van Winkle’ is in a subset of daffodils in the miniature variety only growing to a height of 6 to 8 inches.