Tips for getting your garden to reach its fullest potential this year

With how inconsistent Utah's weather has been, it's no wonder if your garden isn't growing like it usually does. Or, maybe your garden never grows like it should and you're looking for a little gardening help. Helen Multz from Utah State Extention has some tips to help your garden become the best it can be.

Annuals for early spring

  • Usually for early spring. Cool-season annuals can handle 32 degree temperature. They can include:
    • Ranunculus or "buttercups"
    • English Daisy
    • Pansies/Viola/'Johnny jump-ups'
    • Snap dragons
    • Alyssum

Planting 

  • When planting, use potting soil, not garden soil.
  • Fill the contains with soil up to around 2" below the rim. This will allow space for roots to fill in and take up volume. It will also allow for more efficient watering.
  • Gently loosen roots of the plant before planting.
  • Add a little slow-release fertilizer on top of the soil.

Summer/warm-season annuals

  • These plants can be planted on or after Mother's Day unless you can bring them indoors or have a greenhouse.
  • Wave petunias are great for planters, hanging baskets or color fill in a flower bed.
  • A 12' hanging basket can hold three to five wave petunia starts.

Care

  • Spring plants: water carefully to make sure you are not over-watering them. Use a soil moisture meter or check moisture with your finger using the 'finger-check' test.
  • Summer plants: water one to two times a day for sun planters. Use the 'finger-check' test for shade planters.
  • Feed your plants regularly with balances liquid fertilizer high in phosphorous one to four times per month, depending on your time commitment and the dilution of fertilizer. Also, use slow-release fertilizer every month in the summer.

For more, visit www.gardening.usu.edu.