Spring Gardening Tips

PeppersBy Rob Zimmer

The snow has melted and the birds have returned and now, in just a few short weeks, it will be time to begin a new growing season here in Wisconsin.

Take the opportunity this spring to try something new in your yard and garden, experimenting with new ways to grow. Think outside the box when growing your ornamentals, fruits, vegetables, berries and other plants.

Here are some ideas to help get you started:

Growing edible crops in pots and containers is one of the biggest trends in outdoor gardening and landscaping. A number of varieties of fruits, berries and vegetables are now available in dwarf forms, perfect for containers. Mix and match with tasty, fragrant herbs to create your own garden in a pot.

The minute any hobby or interest becomes labor, it is usually no longer enjoyable. Make your gardening hobby fun by developing your own fun and outgoing style. It could mean painting pots in a fun color or designing garden beds in a fun theme. It could be growing your own bouquets and decorations. Grow a few unusual, bizarre plants you’ve never heard of. Involve the whole family and make it fun for everyone.

Collecting and growing heirloom plants, including annual flowers, wildflowers, fruits and vegetables is an extremely satisfying and enjoyable way to garden. You’ll find great selections online at several websites including Baker Seed Company and Seed Savers. Part of the fun of growing heirlooms is saving the seeds each year to increase your crop or share with friends and family. Learning the process of saving seeds is in itself an enjoyable and rewarding hobby.

Pollinator gardens, those designed to benefit pollinating insects such as bees, butterflies and others, are a top trend in gardening in 2015. Providing not only nutrition, but also shelter and water for these insects is easy to do by planting an assortment of native and garden-variety flowering plants. Bee and butterfly hives and houses, puddling areas and other elements are also easy to create.

Discover the beauty and benefits of landscaping and gardening with Wisconsin native plants. Wildflowers, trees and shrubs provide not only interesting colors, textures and year round beauty, but nutrition and nesting space for wildlife, as well.

Create your own garden art and accents using a variety of re-furbished or repurposed items. Find inspiration online by searching garden art projects, or visit one of our many excellent vintage shops. Whether your style is fun and whimsical or elegant and formal, you’ll discover many great ways to create do it yourself garden art projects.

Skip the toxic chemical fertilizers and amendments this year and research organic options to enhance and protect your garden treasures. You’ll discover how organic options are not only better for your yard and garden, as well as your health, but also less expensive.

Rob Zimmer is an award winning nature and gardening writer with over 20 years of passionate outdoor writing experience. Find him on Facebook at

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