Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Annuals Bring Variety to Your Garden

Annuals are beautiful flowers that grace almost every garden. Depending on your climate, they will last only a season and will die off in the winter. Sometimes called bedding plants they are relatively inexpensive and loved for their bright flowers which bloom all summer.

Annuals start and end their life cycle in one growing season. Typically, you wou ld purchase them in spring and plant them after the threat of frost has passed (although some hardy varieties may survive a frost). Some popular annuals include pansies, impatiens, petunias, marigolds and begonias.

You can buy annuals for your garden and most garden centers and even the big home centers like Lowes and Home Depot. Annuals are sold in a variety of packages, some come in large pots while others come in individual packages like an ice cube tray with about 6 plants per pack. You can buy as many packs as you need to fill in your area, but be sure to read the instructions on the tag as to how far apart to plant so you know how many to get.

Planting them depends on the particular variety that you have but most annuals like a sunny spot with well drained soil. Annuals need warm soil and stable temperatures so you want to wait until it is well into spring and you know the ground has warmed up.

Place the plants in different spots and configurations around the yard while still in their containers. Once you have found the perfect arrangement, you're ready to plant!

It's a good idea to moisten the soil before you start planting. Dig the holes deep enough so that the base of the plant stem will be even with the top of the dirt (all the roots will be under the ground just like when it was in the pot). Carefully remove the annual from it's original container, shake some of the dirt loose from the roots and place in the hole. Then put the dirt back around the plant, pat gently and water thoroughly. You might want to add some organic mulch and liquid fertilizer.

As your annuals begin growing and producing flowers you'll want to be sure to water them every day - not too much though, just enough to soak the ground. Get a good fertilizer specifically for flowers and use it as directed. Inspect your flowers for pests or disease and remove dead flowers, leaves and branches regularly. This will prevent fungi from growing which can hurt your plants. Look for signs of wilting and yellowed leaves and adjust your care accordingly.

Planting annuals in your garden can give you a great variety of plants and colors year after year. It will allow you to experiment with different plants until you find the combination perfect for your garden.

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