The simple often has the deepest roots.

There is a very very simple way to plant annuals. Planted in the way described below the plants will suffer less shock and need far less water. In fact there is no need to water for at least three daysafter the work is done. There is less of a mess. There is less strain on your muscles. The plants are easier to space symmetrically.

The reason the following planting tips help so much has to do with how plants are watered. Plants neither like nor need a cold cup of water; they are not thirsty in the way we are. They much prefer the water to be drawn up from below at just the right temperature. When the compaction of the soil is too loose there is no way for the roots to draw the water up. If you dig the flowers in with a small trowel and, worse yet, do it immediately after turning the soil you are actually hurting their chance of survival because there is no compaction. The first few days of watering are not giving the plants water as much as it is naturally compacting the soil making it possible to pass water properly later. Imagine giving a taste of water from the tip of your finger to a thirsty man. This is what you are doing.

How we do it is to poke the soil with a poking stick made for the poking, or an old shovel handle. My favourite is a four foot 2`x2“with a slightly tapered end. We start by clearing the mulch from the area to be planted. When we rake back the mulch we leave it in piles in the open or rake it onto a bag so we can redistribute evenly and it is easy to work with. The next step is to punch the holes with our 2×2. As we do not buy fancy planting stick with a place to use our foot to push the wood in we hammer the post from the top to make the cute little dimples. (not too deep please) This saves an awful lot of bending. A transplant solution is made up and this is squirted in the holes until they are half full. An old large soft type water bottle is best for this but please mark clearly with an X or throw out when done. It is at this point the additives are placed in and around the hole. By having our compost mix in a separate bag it simply saves the step of loosening some dirt from around the plant to top off the hole and press the plants in.

Do not water for three days. The plants will not wilt. Please note that in planters this compressing of the soil can be even more important, especially if you are using all new soil. A smaller pokey stick will make it easier.

Please watch this blog for further advice on planters. If interested give us a call about our retrofitting of planters to make them go for weeks without water. Great for those that vacation and businesses.


  • If you do not use mulch and are planning on turning the soil to add compost
    • do in the fall
    • do it early in the spring
    • don’t plant until two weeks after turning work is done (minimum)
  • If you have mulch it should not be disturbed
    • sprinkle fertilizers and compost on top of mulch for shrubs and perennials
      • do throughout year, not just the spring
    • rake away and re distribute if you are planting (annuals)
  • Poke holes
  • Add water, plants and soil and compact
    • water in the hole should not crest the surface making mud when planting
    • spread mulch back over area when done
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