Looking to create your perfect Upstate NY garden this year? We’ve got all the tips you need for planting and maintaining your personal eden! There’s so much more to creating a garden than picking random flowers and sticking them in the ground.
Where does the sun hit most?
Which plants will thrive in the Capital Region climate?
Your garden should be a reflection of your taste and preferences but a well-laid plan will ensure your garden is the envy of all your neighbors!
Pick the Right Gardening Spot
Before you start choosing which plants you’ll include in your new garden, take a look at your space. Is there a lot of shade? Is your garden going to be directly in the sun most of the day? Knowing how the sun hits your space can help you determine the best spring flowers and plants to plant. Many plants require 6-8 hours of sun, so if your garden is mostly shady, think twice about geraniums and petunias!
Sun isn’t the only consideration when planting your garden. Consider the maintenance level you want for your space. Sloping gardens require more maintenance than ones on level ground. If you have a sloping property, consider ways to level the ground where you’re looking to plant. Raised garden beds are another great way to easily provide a flat surface or your new garden space!
Another pro tip on choosing the right spot for planting your garden?
Plant it in areas you can’t ignore! Areas around your mailbox, in front of a prominent window, or right outside the doors to your home are less likely to be accidentally neglected since they’re constantly in your path. It’s a great way to strategically battle the “out of sight, out of mind” possibility.
Consider Cold-Climate Plants
Photo Credit: planthardiness.ars.usda.gov
Now that you’ve decided where to plant your garden, you have to decide what to plant in it! Climate has a big part to play in which plants will thrive most easily in your area. In 2012, the USDA released its updated Plant Hardiness Zone Map, dividing the country into different zones which gardners can use to determine which plants will thrive best in their area. Albany, for example, is designated as being in zone 5b.
If this means little to you, fear not! A professional will know which plants are best for your garden.
If you’re going it on your own, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has published its own guide to native flowers, complete with zone information, light requirements, and optimal soil types. Some ideal flowers for the Capital Region include daylilies, spirea, hostas, and certain species of roses.
Annuals or Perennials?
This may seem like a simple question to answer, but it’s an important one. When choosing what to plant in your space, consider how much garden maintenance you want to provide and whether you are up to planting every year or not. Annuals will need replanting whereas hardy perennials will last several years in your garden. There are loads of each to choose from that thrive in Upstate NY, so don’t feel your options are overly limited either way.
Prep the Soil
When creating your new garden, often topsoil is stripped away leaving nutrient-deficient, overly wet, or infertile soil behind. The solution for this is relatively simple. A 2-3 inch layer of organic compost will help your new plants and seeds thrive better. If you’re unsure about your soil quality, consider a soil test to see what may be lacking and what other actions to take.
Working the soil for your new garden is also essential to creating a masterpiece. Tilling or digging are two ways to go about doing this. Tilling is best when preparing a larger new area while digging is effective for preparing a smaller garden area. Working the soil allows your new plants to develop better root systems and reach water and nutrients more easily. Be mindful not to overwork the soil, however, as this can damage soil structure and disrupt microorganisms, resulting in the opposite of what you want!
Keep on the Weeds
The battle with weeds is never permanently won.
Keeping on top of the weeds encroaching on your new garden is the best way to keep them from snuffing out your plants. You’ve put all this hard work in, don’t let it be for nothing!
Be sure to clear the area before you begin planting, as well. In addition to weeds, keep an eye out for diseased or dead parts in your plants and remove them quickly. This can help prevent the spread of disease to other plants and keep your garden looking its best.
For insect pests, consider a garden-safe insecticide easily purchased at local nurseries and garden stores.
Watch The Water
Different plants require different levels of water to thrive. When planting your garden, consider grouping plants with similar water requirements to keep your maintenance level down. In hot Upstate NY summers, ensure new seedlings never dry out and keep your garden from scorching in the hot sun. On the other hand, don’t overwater your plants and accidentally drown them!
Protect Your Plants
Once you’ve planted your beautiful new garden, protect it with a layer of mulch over the soil. Not only does this look better aesthetically, but it also protects your soil from drying out as quickly. A layer of mulch will keep you from having to water your garden as frequently (low maintenance = win!) but will also keep the weeds at bay. Without sunlight hitting the soil, weeds germinate more slowly and are less likely to take over your masterpiece. There is a wide variety of soils available, each with different benefits, so do your research before choosing which you want to put down. A professional will know what will work best for your garden.
Planting your perfect garden in Upstate NY doesn’t have to be all work and no fun. Choosing the best plants for the Capital Region, ensuring soil quality, and keeping on top of weeds and pests will ultimately cut down on the time spent maintaining your new gardening oasis. Less time spent on maintenance means more time enjoying your space.
Be the envy of the neighborhood this year with the perfect garden!
Need an extra hand with a beautiful garden and lawn? Let’s discuss landscaping and gardening services and we’ll work with you to create the perfect garden for your space! Contact us if you’re interested in a quote using the form below, or give us a call: