News From Our Blog

Image description:
From the White House:

It’s officially spring, and that means it’s time for the sixth-annual planting of the White House Kitchen Garden.

Image description:

From the White House:

It’s officially spring, and that means it’s time for the sixth-annual planting of the White House Kitchen Garden.

Looking for a Spring Family Activity? Plant a Garden

There’s no better time to plant a garden than spring, when the weather is just right for plants and flowers. But you don’t have to do it alone. Planting a garden can be a great family activity that also promotes the environment.

There are several things you should consider before getting started.

Before Planting a Garden

Figure out how much space you have and what type of plants you’d like to have. There are different types of gardens for houses or apartments. Do some research and pick the one you like the most.

Once you are ready:

  • Select the plants you want. If you’re not sure which ones to choose, go to a gardening store and take your family with you. Everybody can help pick the plants, flowers or fruit trees for your home.
  • Make a budget for plants and materials to help you stay on track.
  • Be careful with drainage holes as too little water or too much water can affect the growth of your plants.
  • Make sure the soil has the right nutrients. Ask a specialist to recommend the right type of soil for your garden.

When Planting a Garden

Consider these tips as you begin:

  • Separate your flowers and trees so they are not too close to each other.
  • Figure out how much water and shade each plant will need.
  • Make a layout of your garden so you know which plants need to go where.

Once you’re ready to start, get your family together and assign tasks such as spreading the soil and placing the seeds in the holes.

After Planting a Garden

Taking care of your garden regularly will help your plants grow healthy. Give family members weekly tasks to help maintain the garden. For a healthy garden, make sure to:

  • Water your plants according to their needs. Some will need more water, some will need less.
  • Add fertilizer to the soil to make sure your plants get the nutrients they need.
  • Protect your garden from unwanted pests by using pesticides (check how to use pesticides safely.)
  • Trim your plans and remove any dry leaves and fallen fruits. It will make your garden look clean and lush.

Use this guide from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to find out what plants will grow best where you live.

If you live in zones 1-10, take a look at the U.S. National Arboretum’s examples of plants that should succeed in those zones.

The newly revised map reflects several changes:

  • A new ZIP code finder allows you to identify your area’s Plant Hardiness Zone.
  • Two new zones, 12 and 13, have been added for regions with average annual extreme minimum temperatures above 50 degrees and 60 degrees F. These zones appear on the maps for Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
  • The 2012 map reflects 30 years of weather data (1976-2005). The previous edition—published in 1990—reflected 13 years of data (1974-1986).

Learn more about what’s new in the 2012 edition of the Plant Hardiness Zone Map.