You don’t have to have a green thumb to be a successful gardener. Plant just about any type of vegetable or flower in May for great results by summer, say experts at Agromin, an Oxnard-based manufacturer of earth-friendly soil products made from organic material collected from more than 50 Southern California communities, including those in Santa Barbara County.
Plant a Herb Garden: Buying herbs at the grocery store can be expensive. The cost of cut basil can cost more than a basil plant. Plant your favorite herbs in your garden and enjoy their fresh taste throughout spring and summer. Dry them and use them year round. Here’s your chance to experiment with herbs while cooking. Plant cilantro, dill, parsley, thyme, mint, basil, sage, fennel and oregano.
Plant Flowers for Long-Lasting Color: Many of the most beautiful flowers only last a season. Now is the time to plant these annuals so you can enjoy them for as long as possible. Plant begonia, chrysanthemum, geranium, marigold, petunia and verbena. Your garden center will have lots more varieties from which to choose. Want something more permanent? Plant perennials, including Russian sage, asters, purple coneflower, yarrow, peonies, blanket flowers, Siberian iris, daffodils, pincushion flowers, African daisy, delphinium, fuchsia and lavender.
Solve Pest Problems Naturally: One of the benefits of planting your own garden is the ability to keep it chemical free. Instead of putting harmful chemicals into your garden to keep away bugs, try natural and safe options. Ladybugs can control aphid outbreaks. Buy them at your local nursery and release them after dark so they’re not tempted to fly to your neighbor’s yard. To keep snails and slugs from eating plants, place crushed egg shells around the plants. Snails won’t walk over them.
Reduce Your Lawn: The water needed to keep the average size lawns green amounts to about 32 percent of outdoor water use. With water rates rising, consider reducing the size of your lawn. Low maintenance, drought-tolerant ground cover such as lantana and ornamental grasses including fountain grass and deer grass can easily fill in a location where grass once grew.
Mulching Matters: Add a two-to-three-inch layer of mulch on flower and vegetable beds and around trees and shrubs. Mulch keeps weeds down, holds in moisture and prevents disease.
— Diane Rumbaugh is a publicist representing Agromin.