A garden isn’t a garden without a flower bed. Let’s look at some ways to make yours an easy garden.
If it’s an existing flower bed, prepare your bed by removing any weeds or dead leftover materials from last year. If it’s a new bed, start by removing any sod and save it somewhere else for compost. Don’t just turn it in or you’ll be pulling grass and weeds all summer.
There are a couple of alternatives to new bed construction. I started to type shortcut rather than alternative, but these methods aren’t always easier. One option is to build a raised bed. Surround your bed area with landscape timbers or bricks, and then fill it with loam. Most grass or weeds present will die out when covered with 3 or more inches. Or, the real easy way, cover your flower bed area with thick black plastic. Then plant established plants through cutouts in the plastic. Most everything under the plastic will die out in the first year and the plastic can be removed.
Next, choose your plants. You have a choice of annuals or perennials, and plants or seed.
Annuals or Perennial Flower Bed
Annuals live only one year and will need replacement annually (hence the name!). As compensation for their short lifespan, Mother Nature gives annuals the ability to produce lots of seed-bearing flowers. Plant breeders have added to their traits and many annuals now flower almost continuously through the season.
Perennials come up year after year, which sounds great, but Mother Nature is at work here too. Most perennials bloom for only a short period, then save their energy to be able to survive the offseason.
Growing flowers from seed is usually much less expensive but adds a lot of work. And since the title of this blog is Easy Gardens, plants are the way to go. It’s ok to save a few bucks by buying smaller annuals. They grow quickly, and smaller, small healthy ones are better than larger annuals that might be root bound. Perennials are slower growing so there might be a benefit to selecting larger plants.
Dig a hole larger than your plant. If it’s new soil, mix in some kind of soil enhancer. Use compost if it’s available, otherwise, add a commercial supplement of soil enhancer or manure. Yeah, I know manure sounds yuck, but it really does work. Use peat moss if manure bothers you.
Next is the “gardens secret sauce”. One of the biggest time consumers for flower beds is weeding. The great news is that there are now chemical weed preventers available. Use a product like Preen every few weeks and weeds won’t sprout. It works by preventing weed seeds from sprouting. If you forget and thy get started, just scrape them off with a hoe while they are small. Don’t let them grow too big or you’ll need to weed by hand.