Returning home from the February ASCFG Board meeting to my thriving Cool Flowers garden is almost as good as reuniting with husband Stevie and golden retriever Tuc. My hardy annuals are patiently sitting and waiting out in the field for their time to start producing.

By the time you read this we will be knee deep in hordes of snaps, bells, rudbeckias, poppies, sweet William, and a wealth of other spring bloomers. The beds are full of healthy, robust plants and I’m expecting it to be a really good season this year.

This didn’t happen by chance. I’ve learned the hard way to stick to the best practices of growing cool-season hardy annuals. Spring cash crops are far too significant and spring too busy of a time to go off script that can lead to failures. When I focus on giving these plants growing during cool and cold conditions what they need, they rarely fail me.

Best practices:
• Make it a top priority to plant on time for your region.
• Choose to fall plant only those known to be winter  hardy in your region.
• Those not winter hardy in your region, plant in very  early spring.
• Plant in the best draining area available and in raised  beds.
• Be a brutal thinner of direct-sown crops to give them  the space they need to thrive.

For me, growing cool-season hardy annuals has become the perfect example of how great or horribly bad things can go just based on how I follow instructions. These simple, yet pass or fail practices can change your spring, and what better way to launch your season then with a successful and profitable spring?

Lisa Ziegler

The Gardener's Workshop

Lisa Ziegler The Gardener's Workshop Contact her at [email protected]