• Spring Planning Makes for Easy Summer Vegetable Gardening

    Mar 24, 2010 08:30 ET -- Plant 'em and Forget 'em - Ideas for an Easy-Care Garden

    Plant Savvy(R) Tips from Monrovia

    AZUSA, Calif., March 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Gardening is a lot like cooking. Sometimes you want to putter in the kitchen all day, making breads and soups from scratch and creating the perfect meal. But there are plenty of times when you just want delicious, healthy food on the table quickly. Same thing in the garden.

    Spring planting is exciting, and you're happy to spend a few weekends choosing plants and digging in mud. But a few weeks later, you just want to have a nice-looking yard, without a lot of effort. You want pretty flowers and foliage you can cut for an indoor arrangement, and a chance to relax and enjoy your outdoor room. No problem. Simply follow Monrovia's six steps to choosing plants for an easy-care garden ... just "plant 'em and forget 'em."

    Monrovia suggests that the Spring planting of dwarf shrubs such as Goshiki False Holly, Dwarf Globe Blue Spruce, Sea of Gold Juniper and barberries will help keep the garden colorful and low maintenance throughout the Summer so that you'll be able to enjoy your time in the sun. The use of perennials such as Coneflowers and Fountain grass in the ornamental garden will help keep the living easy.

    But as Cooks, our favorite place outdoors in Summer is the vegetable garden, where every day brings a new delight, with flavor-packed organic produce, and fragrant sunshine bathed herbs that are only minutes away from the pot.

    Monrovia recommends "Easy Edibles" such as Rosemary, Thyme, Bay, Lavender and Sage, which, due to the essential oils that are systemic to these plants are indeed trouble-free (in fact, some of these will make effective organic garden pest deterents when pulverized and sprayed on neighboring, more susceptible plants!).

    A strawberry planter can be filled with all your favorite herbs and kept on a sunny deck, taking up little space and lending a Mediterranean flair to your decor while contributing much in the way of flavor enhancement in your Summer salads, light soups and sauces.

    Or try some easy-to-grow edibles like blueberry, or a fun-to-grow strawberry patch. Kids will enjoy growing peanuts in a patch of sandy soil and digging them out at the end of the season (peanuts grow under the soil). They can also be grown in a pot. Speaking of pots, container gardening is a great hobby even if you don't have a patch of land. Miniature and pot-sized wonder vegetable seeds are available specifically for growing in small spaces. You'll find bush cucumbers, miniature tomatoes such as "Tiny Tim", or medium sized plants with pretty dark green leaves like "Patio" tomato. There are even topsy-turvy upside-down planters that allow you to grow tomatoes in a hanging pot, or try growing your own hanging basket from seeds using "Tumbling Tom".
    Kids will love growing miniature sunflowers and pumpkins because they grow so quickly. And if you plant a few zucchini plants and tend them well, you'll have enough to feed the entire neighborhood.

    When choosing seeds and plants, remember that many heirloom varieties have wonderful flavor that sometimes the hybrids will lack. But heirlooms often take a longer time to maturity, or picking time, and can be subject to diseases, especially when grown in the same soil year after year. Hybrids can offer improved disease resistance and often have a greater yield and earlier harvest. If you decide to save your own seeds for next year's garden, only the seeds from heirloom varieties can be saved - hybrids will not produce seedlings that are true to type.

    A few raspberry and blueberry shrubs will produce a bounty of fruit all season. Once established, fruit trees have a long life and reward you with your own organic fruits. Dwarf citrus, like the Meyer Lemon Improved, Nagami Kumquat or the Dancy Tangerine work well in containers, on the patio or indoors. Their fragrant blossoms are a bonus.

    Start your plants off in good soil and mulch them with organic materials. Not only will your plants be super-healthy and beautiful without much effort, the mulch will block out most of the weeds.

    For more Plant Savvy ideas from Monrovia, visit Monrovia.com.

    To find the nearest garden center that carries Monrovia plants, visit http://monrovia.com/.

    Web Site: http://www.monrovia.com/

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