Ask Miss Jean!
Jean Lovell, long-time Resource Central volunteer and former master gardener, tackles your gardening questions!
Submit your question(s) for Miss Jean to: GardenInfo@ResourceCentral.org
Q: I’ve ordered a Garden In A Box, now what?! How do I prepare my landscape before picking it up this spring?
A: Fear not! Garden In A Box makes it easy for budding gardeners and seasoned pros alike to install a professionally designed, low-water garden. When watered and maintained effectively, replacing your water-thirsty grass with a xeric (low-water) garden can reduce your outdoor water use by up to 60%!
Here’s how to prepare for your Garden In A Box and ensure water-savings:
(1) Decide where you’ll plant your Garden In A Box.
Check the garden details for coverage (square feet) and exposure requirements, both noted online and in the catalog. Avoid areas with standing water – i.e. near downspouts or other runoff.
(2) If your garden includes more than one plant-by-number map, decide which one you’ll follow.
Mark the plant-by-number map layout in your landscape. Pro tip: a garden hose serves nicely for this purpose!
(3) If you didn’t do so in the fall, remove your turfgrass.
Learn about solarization, sheet covering, physical removal, and vinegar methods.
(4) Improve the soil.
Kill pests: search for and destroy any insect pests and their larvae.
Remove landscape obstacles: clear out any remaining grass clumps, rocks and/or large roots.
Add organic amendments: mixed thoroughly into the soil to improve aeration and water penetration in Colorado’s clay soil. Amendments encourage plant roots to penetrate deeper into the soil. Try a combination of materials such as compost and leaves, and dig amendments 6-8 inches into the soil. Pro tip: this is the one time to thoroughly add amendments. For the future, an annual top dressing of the same materials scratched into the soil around growing plants is beneficial.
(5) Plan for planting.
Mark your calendar with your Garden In A Box pick up date (selected at the time of checkout; refer to receipt for details). Weather permitting; it is best to plant within one week of your pick up. Click here for more planting instructions.