As spring time rolls around and you begin plotting your outdoor flower gardens, I thought I would share some tips on how easy it is to screw up your delicate flower beds. Coming from someone who is tried and failed at it all, let me tell you what you can do to royally screw it up.
Use a wild flower seed mix:
I get it, the idea of sowing a bunch of seeds right out of the packaging is so enticing. You simply sprinkle the seeds and cross your fingers. Well, I am here to let you know that unless you plan to grow wild flowers year after year, don’t do it. You will be pulling wild flowers from your beds for seasons to come. Once you dump that box, there is no going back. Also, not all wild flowers are desirable. You could be inviting some unwanted, evasive flowers that will spread outside your beds and take over your garden.
Sow your seeds too early:
Around here, zone 5, spring is a tricky time of year. After seasons of disappointment, I sow my seeds toward the end of spring rather than after the first frost. If you plan to spend time planting your flowers in pretty little rows, it takes ONE high wind to ruin your plans and blow your seeds to Timbuktu. I understand the desire to get your seeds in the ground, but be patient and watch the weather.
Water your outdoor flower garden from the top down:
Unless you are a fan of mold and powdery mildew, don’t spray your plants with water from above. Clearly you can’t help it when it rains, but if you water everyday like I do, put your hose on the ground and water just the soil. Also, see the next tip on how to avoid rotting plants and other common diseases.
Decide to skip thinning your seedlings:
It happens, the seedlings come up to close together or there are just too many. As any good gardener would be, I get excited at the sight of my sprouts and I hate thinning them because I am just so happy the sprouted at all. After one season of crippling mildew do to over crowding, lesson learned. Thinning seedlings and pulling weeds is the only way to ensure your outdoor flower garden will remain happy and healthy.
Start your seeds indoors:
I know, I know, every blog will tell you to start your seedlings indoors. Here is why I don’t like this method. Seedling trays and indoor starter kits are big and bulky. If you have the room, great, otherwise it is not always realistic for an urban farmer to have the space to spare. It takes months to grow seedlings and a lot of patience waiting until they get their first “real” set of leaves. Transferring too soon and not hardening off your seedlings will end in their timely death. Now you’ve devoted a ton of time and space on seedlings that just couldn’t hack the outdoors. Ugh!
Well, there you have the 5 things that I have personally done to screw up my outdoor flower bed. If you have some bummer outdoor flower garden stories to share, post in the comments. We can commiserate together. Check out my 3 part outdoor planter series on how to get your outdoor planters in top shape.