CBSN

Getting Your Garden Going

If you're ready to get your hands dirty, this is the best time to start planting a garden, assuming you didn't get around to it in the fall.

On The Early Show Friday, Patricia Lansing, a contributing editor of House & Garden magazine, showed how.

She said it's never too late to start a spring garden. While you may have missed the traditional bulb planting last fall, if you want instant spring, you may have it. Treat this as your first garden, one you can experiment with so that, next time, you'll know what you like and be right on time when planting bulbs.

PREPARE THE SOIL

Since you haven't started planting, begin by cleaning up the area you'll be creating for your garden. Remove any brush that may have gathered and rake away leaves, twigs and animal droppings. Prep the area for what you'll be planting by tilling or churning the soil, then adding a fresh layer of compost to enrich it. Healthy soil means a healthy garden.

GO ORGANIC

With our environment at a critical juncture, ecologically responsible gardening has never been more important. To maintain a chemical-free garden use both an organic compost and fertilizer. One of the easiest and most efficient ways to achieve fertile soil is with decomposed organic matter — turning kitchen scraps, lawns clipping, and dried leaves into nutrient-rich compost, which at the same time significantly reduces the amount of waste in landfills. If you can't make compost or buy it locally, ordering organic compost is the next best thing.

Try Teufel's Organic Compost: Made from bat guano, manure, oyster shells and forest products, Teufel's is rich in nutrients that make your vegetable garden flourish.

DESIGN YOUR GARDEN

Map out what you want your dream garden to be. You have all of the flowers that are available at farmers markets and nurseries right now at your disposal. This is an immediate gratification garden. Your map is like a furniture plan or a design sketch. Measure the space so that when you do pick which flowers you want in your garden, you'll know how much space you have to work with. Think about which flowers you want in front, how you want to cluster them, how many layers you want, and in what colors. All of this gets factored into your dream plan.

SELECT YOUR FLOWERS

If you love flowers, here is where you get to play with colors, smells, and different types. Pick what you like and then if you want to change it, since you are planting these from pots, you'll have that freedom. For those who don't have an idea of where to start, consider a uniform color palette, in all sorts of sizes and varieties. Once you decide what your "must" flowers are, then you'll plant the bulbs in time for them to naturally bloom next year.

Keep in mind, whatever you see right now sprouting up in people's yards, public parks and corner markets you can plant. That's the beauty of a now garden. You are planting for the present, not for the far away future. Tulips, hyacinths, azaleas (some refer to as the royalty of the garden and range in color from white to pink to purple to red), and pansies are all coming into bloom.

PLANTING BASICS

If you missed planting bulbs this fall (the time to plant bulbs for natural spring bloom), look around. If you see bulbs popping up, you know you can start planting them now. A short cut is to buy them in pots and then take them out of the pots, loosen the roots and replant them in your garden, according to your map.

Sequence of planting: Pick your spot; mark it with string; clean it up; churn the soil; give it a facial after a long winter; add organic compost and fertilizer.

You can't plant if the soil is wet.

After the soil is prepared: Remove plants from pots; loosen and clean roots; dig hole deep enough so that roots are covered; water.

PLAN AN OUTDOOR SANCTUARY
More and more people are treating their outdoor space as if it were a room in their home — using and appreciating every inch of it. Just as we heard for many years in home design, people were bringing the outside in — creating as much open space, light and access to the outside as possible, while designing with flowers and plants to make the indoors feel like you were outdoors. Now, likewise, people want to bring the inside out when weather permits — combining furniture layouts with gardens for a lovely effect.