Now that some of us have more free time because of the “Stay at Home” order and the weather is getting warmer, you might be itching to dig out your shovel and gloves.
While it’s a good time to start planting perennials and trees, Naperville Park District specialist Tiffani Picco recommends waiting to plant vegetables like peppers and tomatoes and flowers like petunias and geraniums.
“We want to make sure the danger of frost is gone. And usually we say about Mother’s Day or even a little bit after Mother’s Day – definitely by Memorial Day you can start planting all of those,” said Picco.
For those ready to get a start now, the first tip is figuring out where you want to place your plants and then choosing which ones you’ll purchase based on the location.
Some plants need “full sun,” while others need some shade. You should also check whether that location has wet or dry soil. These factors will help you determine the best choice and the information can be found on the plant’s tag.
Once you’ve brought your selections home, be sure to dig a space twice as wide as the pot to give the plant some “working room” and dig the hole the same depth as the pot your plant comes in.
“You don’t want to go much deeper than that. You don’t want to bury any part of the plant under the ground. You want where the roots meet the stem to be right at the ground level,” said Picco.
“The roots drown under too much soil and need a little bit of air movement,” said Picco. “So you want those roots to be right at the soil level.”
And of course, water is key for anything to grow.
“It’s always important to water as soon as you plant your plant,” said Picco. “Even if it feels wet, even if the ground seems wet, you still want to add some water that helps wash all those soil particles right up against the roots of what you just planted.”
And finally, to make sure your hard work will bloom, Picco recommends adding mulch over the top to protect the roots and keep moisture in.
For perennials add one to two inches, and two to three for trees.
Naperville News 17’s Aysha Ashley Househ reports.