This way you make the garden (or the balcony) ready for spring

15 May 2021Updated: 4 hours ago | 52 people are reading

This way you make the garden (or the balcony) ready for spring

© Illustration Claudia van Rouendal NRC

Perennials are emerging again. You see beautiful, fresh growth, with the dead branches of last season above it. Now is the time to take it away. They have served as a shelter and food source all winter long, but they are now hindering new growth. The spring sun and fresh air must be able to do their job. Collect all those leftovers, find a quiet spot in the garden and stack it there. This mountain of apparent clutter quickly provides life and saves a full click. Insects like it, worms slowly digest the bottom leftovers that touch the bottom, birds benefit from it again because they like to eat it, and maybe you can pull a hedgehog into the garden with it.

Eating from the garden

© Offered by NRC Illustration Claudia van Rouendal

There is little better than putting home-grown food in your mouth right away. This is a good time to start that vegetable garden that has been on the schedule for a while but is still not coming. Preferably take a sunny spot in the garden or on the balcony. Fertile soil is important for a good harvest. Organic or homemade compost is perfect for this. You put a good layer of this - at least 5 centimeters, but more is only good - on the ground where you want to start gardening. The possibilities for what you can sow are endless. Take a look at what you prefer to eat and go for it.

Now sowing, inside the windowsill, are tomatoes, for example. Small varieties are also available that can grow in pots on the balcony. Now you can also sow basil indoors. You sow both as thinly as possible, for example only a single seed in a pot or the cardboard of a toilet roll. If you sow (accidentally) more, you will soon have to be hard and "thin out", pick out the smallest, saddest plants and choose a strong plant as the chosen one. If you don't do this, they will compete for food and light so that they will all die. If the plants grow for a while and roots appear, they can be moved to a larger pot.

Keep them indoors until mid-May when the chance of frost has passed. It is important to gradually get the plants used to the outside temperatures. They are quite shocked when they go directly into the garden from the warm windowsill. Therefore, put them outside for a few hours during the day - not in full sun. You can extend this a bit until you leave them outside overnight after a few days. After this they are ready for the garden.

If you prefer to sow something directly in the garden, choose for example arugula. Sow about four inches apart and cover very lightly with a little soil. About half an inch is good. After two to four weeks you will see the plants appear and you can start eating them.

A thriving garden quickly

© Offered by NRC Illustration Claudia van Rouendal

Rich bloomers cheer up a lot and you draw the most life with it. If you plant them now, they will bloom this summer and even this spring. A nice effect can be achieved by making small groups. Do not put a single copy of all plants, but make groups of them in odd numbers such as three or five. This looks the most natural.

These plants bloom for a long time with lots of flowers, combine beautifully together, and come back every year:

Cuckoo flower (Silene dioica) gives beautiful pink flowers that, if you are talking about you heart to pick them, also very good if you can put bunches of flowers in a vase. They bloom - from which it is said to take its name - from the moment the cuckoo is heard, in May.

Catnip (Nepeta 'Walkers low') blooms from May until late autumn, has silvery-gray leaves with light purple flowers and always surrounded by buzz of bees.

Coneflower (Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm') has warm yellow flowers like a child draws a flower: a clear, round heart, surrounded by petals. It starts blooming in the summer and continues to bloom in the fall.

Stonecrop (Sedum "Carl") is full of nectar and blooms late, in August and September. Butterflies and bees are happy with this, because many other flowers are waving a bit for a well-deserved winter rest.

Drop plant (Agastache 'Blue Fortune' or 'Blue Boa'), has purple, elongated flowers that attract a lot of insects.

Gardening without a garden © Offered by NRC Illustration Claudia van Rouendal

Gardening is possible even without a garden. You can store plants in any large container, pot, or whatever you have where you can drill holes at the bottom. The most important thing is that excess water can escape so they don't drown. Wine boxes are ideal, for example. Since they are not very deep, put plants that like this, such as Wall Fine (Erigeron karvinskianus), which looks like lush blooming daisies, and Pigeon (Scabiosa), which has round cushions of flowers in soft colors. Beautiful varieties are "Pink Mist" or "Butterfly Blue". These plants combine beautifully, bloom very long and bees, hoverflies and butterflies are happy with them.

If you have a larger container or pot at your disposal, then a combination of coneflower (Rudbeckia) is 'Goldsturm' , geranium 'Rozanne', beautiful in blue, sweet flowers and pigeon herb. This combination blooms from May to October.

If you don't feel like working with all kinds of plants, a large pot with a butterfly bush is also an option. New varieties are available that stay small (up to only 80 centimeters high), such as "Free petit Snow White", or "Free Petit Blue Heaven". These bloom from June to October.

Children's job

© Offered by NRC Illustration Claudia van Rouendal

Many of the above activities can be undertaken with children. This is extra fun: sow nasturtiums together. You do this now, in the windowsill in small pots or toilet rolls on a dish. Fill them to the brim with organic potting soil or sowing soil, without squeezing it hard, and insert one seed per pot or toilet roll. It's perfect when they sit about an inch deep, but it really doesn't get close to these seeds. They are large and easy to handle, so no hassle. Keep the soil moist. After a week you will probably see sweet round leaves appear. Success is guaranteed with this plant, so don't be afraid of disappointed faces and destroying fledgling garden enthusiasm. After mid-May you put them outside, as soon as it no longer freezes, they don't like that.

Everything about the plant is edible. The flowers make every dish festive, the leaves taste a bit like radishes, and the young seeds that appear soon after flowering and look like peas can be eaten like a kind of capers. Sometimes lice will appear, but you can simply rinse them off with a firm jet of water. It can be placed in a large pot, just in the garden or at the vegetable garden. Opt for the vining variant if it is allowed to grow tall. This is a good option for balconies because you can direct it so that it provides privacy. It is an annual plant, so sow it again next year, unless it has already done so by scattering seeds in the garden or pot it is in.

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