Even with the recent snow, spring has officially arrived in Chicago, and it’s time to start bringing outdoor areas to life. The great thing about gardens is that they can fit in almost any space. From renters looking to bring some green to the porch to homeowners who want to up their game in the yard, there are a number of tips both old and new to help make gardening simple and successful.
The Patio Garden Game
There are many opportunities to create blooming gardens in a city with limited space for growing. When looking for opportunities to garden on an existing balcony or patio, the best answer is often container gardening.
The first step in building a garden that thrives in a tight setting — whether in town or in the suburbs — is selecting the right container. In windy cities like Chicago, it’s important to consider the height and weight of the plants going into your planters. Lean toward pots with a heavier base, which are more likely to remain upright on windier days.
If space is particularly tight, hanging baskets and window boxes are excellent choices. But be sure they are properly secured so they don’t blow away with gusts of wind.
Once the vessel and location for planting has been selected, consider how much sun the planting area will receive. Full sun means that the plant has at least six full hours of direct sunlight a day. A partial sun or partial shade plant needs three to six hours of sun per day. For plants in an area where the sunlight is blocked or obstructed, be sure to choose full shade plants.
For beginner gardeners, consider using Vigoro Drop N Bloom plants. These are pre-selected mixes of varieties ideally suited for The Windy City’s unique climate. Just drop this combination into a favorite container to create a beautiful planter instantly.
Popular plants for Chicago gardens include salvia, yarrow, garden peony, sundrops and chrysanthemum. Amateur green thumbs should also consider planting pothos plants, which are relatively easy to care for.
Breathe New Life into the Yard with an Edible Garden
Homeowners with more space looking to improve their gardens this spring should consider taking advantage of one of the newest trends, growing edibles. Particularly popular with millennials, this DIY trend started with farm-to-table restaurants and is now making its way into the garden as part of a larger focus on healthy living.
For starters, prepare a space for this garden. Check out the latest innovations from Fiskars, including a new line of clearing tools that is perfect for dividing plants, cutting root clumps, digging out weeds and edging around borders.
Herbs and tomatoes are among the most popular edibles. Before planting, be sure to select the right products to promote good growth. When it comes to selecting the soil, consider organic soils. The moisture-retaining soils include natural ingredients that provide a safe and natural way to grow fruits, flowers, shrubs and vegetables.
Additionally, organic fertilizers are a great alternative to traditional fertilizers and provide the big three nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) and elements such as zinc and copper that may be missing from the soil.
Vigoro is a trusted brand with organic options, and it’s been around since 1924 helping gardeners create their lawn and garden oasis for decades.
Also consider raised garden beds, which are actually easier for new growers. These garden beds — basically a box built atop the ground — can result in better yields since properly enriched soil is used in creating the garden. Plant the Edyn Garden Sensor in garden beds for edibles to track soil moisture and nutrition, humidity, sunlight exposure and temperature via an app.
Aside from the aesthetic value, one of the best parts of growing organic produce is it’s a great way save money. Just preserve or pickle produce for use throughout the year.
There is nothing standing in the way of horticultural success; it’s all in choosing the right tools and plants. For more tips and tricks, visit the Garden Club online or check out tips on The Home Depot’s online newsroom Built from Scratch. Have questions? Stop in the local Home Depot and ask an associate for more information.