Tips on deadheading, mosquitoes and making a shovel ruler

10:57 AM, May 22, 2013   |    comments
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Triad --  Have you ever been out in the yard, reading your seed packet and wishing you had a ruler? The seed packet gives good instructions on how far apart you need to plant them. The problem is most of us don't carry a ruler around all the time. If you have a shovel (or anything else with a handle) you can make your own. Just put a yard stick down on the ground, lay your shovel beside it and mark off every 6". It takes less than 5 minutes and you'll never have to guess again.

Are you planting your new annuals? Try planting them in odd numbers. According to the Huffington Post, that will make the garden look more "balanced and pleasing to the eye". It may also make the plants look bigger and healthier.

After you get them planted, how do you keep your annuals looking good? Make sure you deadhead them regularly. Karen Neill, Guilford County Extension Agent, says annuals focus their energy on seed production to ensure the species survives. By removing the old flowers, the energy usually used to produce seed can go to flower production.

Do you have the ugly leftovers from your spring flowering bulbs? Hopefully you haven't cut them back. Neill says doing that every year can weaken the bulb and you'll have fewer flowers. The foliage manufactures the food that's stored in the bulb to support the bloom for next spring. If you let it die naturally, all the food goes into the bulb. If you really hate the way it looks, try planting some annuals around them to dress the space up.

If you like tips like these, sigh up for Karen Neill's monthly newsletters. Click on this website to sign up.

Karen Neill, Extension Agent

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