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Summer soil prep for spring and fall planting

Potted plants can be planted out — with care — if the temperatures in your area are not above the mid-80s. Otherwise, maintain your potted plants in a partial to full shade location until cooler temperatures arrive.

If your area has warmed up above 80 degrees, we will be shipping potted plants to you in October — an excellent time for planting if you live in a USDA Zone 6 or warmer area.

Real_Compost-002We are already a month into summer and while it may be too late to add new plants to your garden, it isn’t too late to begin to prepare the soil for planting this fall or in the spring — in fact, this is the perfect time to begin.

It may be too hot out there to work comfortably, but warmth is just what you need to produce a healthy, compost-rich soil that will help get your plants off to a great start when they arrive this fall or spring.

First, you’ll need to start with a plan. Once you decide where you are going to add new trees, vines, or bushes, then it’s time to dig in.

Loosen the ground with a digging fork or shovel. Then add sheet mulching with cardboard or several layers of newspaper and then apply alternating layers of straw or leaves and grass clippings — lasagna style — greens, then browns, then greens again, and then more browns.

Sheet mulch needs at least one full rainy season to do its magic. This is when the worms come out and eat through the cardboard to get to that delicious compost.

You’ll have to keep the area damp (not saturated) throughout the rest of the summer if you are eager too cook up a quick soil lasagna (like fast food, but much better for you!). If you aren’t in a hurry, however, you can just bide your time and wait for the fall rains to start.

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About Theresa Knutsen

Theresa Knutsen is a horticulturist and writes the Raintree Nursery newsletter "Growing Tips." Email: theresa@raintreenursery.com.
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