Planting Your Spring Garden

Tips for Starting Your Spring Garden Off Strong

Iowa is Zone 5

Cloudy, cold, or snowy days seem endless in Iowa sometimes. We live in a garden planning zone of 5, which means our final freeze date may be as late as May 15. The weather will warm and soon grass will turn green, and bulbs will pop with color. And the rhubarb will sprout.

Research: The ‘Dirt’ on Gardening

The spring and summer of 2020 saw homeowners gardening in record numbers. A new survey released in December 2020 shows gardeners of all ages will be back digging in the dirt in 2021. The research, conducted by Axiom Marketing, a Minneapolis based firm, found that 86 percent of homeowners plan to continue gardening in 2021. Nearly 40 percent of those surveyed say they will plant about the same as last year, with 47 percent saying they will be planting more and expanding their garden spaces next season.

Spring Has Arrived

As we anticipate 2021 gardens, keep in mind that the pandemic saw new gardeners joining the ranks, as people became interested in growing more of their own food. Buy your seedings and seeds early so to not miss out on your favorite bulbs, seeds, or transplants.

Early Spring Garden Tasks

While we wait for nature to warm up, there are many tasks one can do which will make your 2021 gardening season more productive and fruitful.
          –Prep your tools.  Make sure your trowels, garden spades and other garden tools are ‘at the ready’. Remove all signs of soil from the tool (without using water). Apply a light coat of protective oil on them, then wipe off gently with a paper towel. For an added touch, smooth a bit of baby oil on the wooden handles. This will nourish and moisturize the wood, making them softer to the touch.
          –Plan out your garden. Consider the height and width of the plants you are planning to add. Much of the interest in gardens is not only the beauty of the flowers, but also the difference in leaves and heights of the plants.
          –Gently clean winter leaves and debris out of flower beds with a leaf rake. Take caution to not disturb the surface root systems/leaves of the newly emerging plants.
          –Cut back ornamental grasses and perennial plants. This will allow the energy of the plant to go to the root system, resulting in a stronger plant.
          –Prepare the soil. Always work the soil when it is not wet. A good soil is loamy, slightly moist and falls apart when held in your hand. I always add a good bit of rich compost when planting new plants.
          –Buy healthy transplants. The root systems of your new plants should look strong and healthy. If it is going to be a few days before you can plant, set the plants in a bucket of water that completely covers the root system. Even with that, try to plant within a week.
          –Organize your seed packets. This seems like a mundane task, but it is exciting to plan which seeds will go in which beds. This task also makes the planting easier because you’ll know where the seed need to go.

The Well-Mannered Workhorse of the Garden

      –Protect your plants. There is no shortage of rabbits, raccoons, and deer in Iowa. The best way to protect your plants from critters is with the Plant Patron®, the nontoxic, humane way to deter animals. Buy your Plant Patron® at

Critter Woes and a Way to Solve Them Humanely

The Plant Patron®:
-Protects your plant from the beginning, saving time, energy, money, frustration (re: re-planting or cost of replacing)
-While working hard, the device is like a piece of artwork for your garden
-Instant protection: low tech, high maintenance, high effectiveness

I like to call the Plant Patron® the ‘well-mannered workhorse of the garden’. It works for you quietly, consistently, effectively and securely, in a very nice way. To see the Plant Patron® in action, please visit the website:

We once safely caught a forty-pound raccoon who was damaging my plants with wild abandon. The raccoon was transported to a new home some fifteen miles away. I hope the raccoon is happy in his new home. My plants, now protected by the Plant Patron®, are extremely happy. Which makes me happy.

Let’s Plant On together.
View video here: