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USDA Plant Hardiness Zones

To help gardeners understand which plants will grow well for them, the entire USA has been segmented into ‘Plant Hardiness Zones’. Knowing your zone number is helpful when shopping for plants because:

  • Cold-area gardeners can avoid buying plants that simply won’t survive their lowest winter temperatures.
  • Warm-area gardeners can steer clear of plants that need a period of cold weather in order to bloom again.
Find your Plant Hardiness Zone here.

Happy Earth Day to one and all.....and Worms too!

Another gardening season has finally arrived, some earlier than others but it’s here. We can’t wait to get our hands dirty, trying once again to have the best flowers in the neighborhood or maybe it’s growing the biggest pumpkin in this year’s town fair. But for most it’s just for fun. A break from the everyday rat race to enjoy a hobby that so many love. So as we thumb through catalogs, go in and out of our favorite garden centers or shop on-line at trusted gardening sites like ours (Thanks! We appreciate your business!) gathering our “list” of garden goodies, we often overlook what mother nature may be providing us that can have a very positive impact on your garden this season.

So we’d all agree that in gardening, having good soil can play a big part in your success or failure. Whether it’s compost or fertilizer it seems to be a never-ending battle to have the “perfect” soil. But what if I told you there could be something living in your soil that doesn’t cost a thing and is proving great benefits? Next time you’re in your garden look into the soil and see if you see any worms. That’s right, worms!

These slimy, cold-blooded creatures that most would rather put on the end of a hook and feed to billy bass are improving your soil composition. And I bet you didn’t even know!

As the great Charles Darwin would have told you (his final book was on earthworms), there are a number of benefits that worms provide when present in your soil. Here are just a few:

  • The “slime” that a worm produces contains nitrogen. A key component in your soil composition!
  • The tunneling that earthworms create as they move through your soil will allow for air and moisture to flow more freely. Again, both very vital to a successful garden.
  • Once a worm has digested, they produce excrement called a “casting” or “vermicompost”. When present in the soil it will help improve things in your soil such as water retention, improved plant growth and aid in preventing disease.

So the next time you visit your garden I want you to take a few minutes to look at you soil and see if you see any slimy critters. Hopefully you will and take the time to “thank” them for doing their part in the success of your garden this season!

Happy Earth Day from American Meadows!

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