To keep beautiful flower beds from year to year it is necessary to keep them clean. Depending on what you want from your garden there are different techniques to use in maintaining it. Regardless of what style you like, it’s time for a flower bed cleanup!
Decide On Your Flower Bed Appearance
If you want a natural appearance to your garden you will want to encourage volunteer and “holdover” plants from the previous season. For a neat and orderly garden, you will need to clean out everything, except for carefully located perennials, and start over each year.
If you like a bit of a random, wild appearance to your flowers you will want to keep what will winter over from year to year. And any plants that come up volunteer, from seeds from the year before, are to be encouraged. In such a case you will want to encourage old growth to remain and fill in between with new plants.
In the fall and early winter, you will want to clean all of the plants and stems that have been killed by frost. Many plants will have green leaves around the bottom with dead stems sticking up. Trim the dead material away leaving the roots and leaves to grow the next season. Before moving the debris to your compost pile search through it for seed pods. Crush those over the bed and many of them will grow in the spring. This is the time to make sure no leaves accumulate as well. Clean all of the leaves from your garden by hand and put them in your compost bin.
In the spring you will want to clean anything out of your garden that died over the winter. This might take a couple of times, once before you plant your new seeds or bedding plants to fill in bare spots and again after the garden has been watered a couple of times and is starting to green. The first time through just get the obviously dead plants, those that show absolutely no sign of life and where the roots have withered to the point where they are no longer held in the soil well.
The Second Cleaning
In the second cleaning, you will be looking for any plants that aren’t showing any signs of revival. This is also the time to start searching through all of that green for anything that doesn’t fit. If you don’t turn your soil and clean out all of the organic material you will leave weed seeds that will have to be cleaned up by hand. If you see anything that you don’t recognize from the year before it’s a good idea to pull that up.
After the first cleaning will be the time to plant any seeds for areas that need to be filled. With a small rake, the kind that is used for potted plants, scratch up and loosen the soil in any bare spots. Sprinkle your seeds onto the ground and go over them again with the rake to work them in. Keep them moist for a couple of weeks to ensure germination. Using a bit of compost mulch will help the soil to hold moisture. After the second cleaning, if you’ve not seeded your garden, you can fill in bare spots with bedding plants.
If you prefer a more orderly garden you will want to completely clear the bed of all but any perennials you have in place. This is best done in the fall after the plants have started showing signs of frost damage but before the ground freezes. Digging carefully around your roses, peonies, and the like work the soil to a depth of several inches removing any debris and organic material The leaves and stems should go into your compost pile while any rocks or trash should be discarded.
In the spring it is time to prepare for planting. Once again go over your garden working the soil to a depth of several inches. Follow that by raking the soil until the top two to three inches are well broken. Then you are ready to plant your seeds and bedding plants.
Flower Bed Cleanup Is Important
To keep your flower beds year to year it is important to keep them clean. Depending on what you want from your garden there are different techniques to use in maintaining it. The first step of maintenance is the flower bed cleanup by removing weeds. Good luck with your garden or flower bed!
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