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Mountain Gardening: 5 Easy Tips for Better Gardening

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Fall is the ideal time for gardeners in the Mountain region to reassess their efforts and start planning for the next growing season.

A patio container garden is easy to maintain.

It was almost the middle of August before I felt I could relax and enjoy my garden. If it wasn’t the frenzied planting in June, it was the unseasonably hot July weather that kept me from appreciating the natural beauty of my landscape.

Now that the garden is finished for this year, it seems the perfect time to think about ways to improve my efforts for 2013. After carefully considering what worked (and what didn’t), here are my five easy tips for better gardening in 2013:

1. Use More Container Plants
My container garden was a big success last year. I planted a good assortment of vegetables and herbs, in addition to all the flowers. The containers didn’t need as much water as my conventional vegetable bed, and they were easier to care for too. Almost anything will grow if it’s planted in a large enough container.

2. Plant Additional Grafted Vegetables
Last year was the first season I grew grafted tomatoes, and I’d like to branch out to other grafted vegetables this year. These grafted veggie varieties grow on sturdy rootstocks that resist soilborne diseases and nematodes. Plants are so vigorous, they can produce twice the typical amount of fruit.

3. Improve Irrigation Methods
This year I’m going to simplify my watering by investing in a multihose faucet and new hoses. This new system will keep me from dragging one hose to water the tomato garden and all the perennial flowerbeds too.

4. Plant Additional Easy-care Annuals
The hanging basket of Shock Wave Coral Crush petunias convinced me to plant more of these in 2013. This annual kept blooming beautifully all summer, and its needs were simple: water and fertilizer.

5. Plan for Fall Color
Every September I’m envious of my neighbor’s garden that’s filled with colorful mums—just as my landscape is fading. This spring I promise to plant my own beautiful bushels of mums.

What ways do you plan to garden smarter this coming season?