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Get Set for Spring Planting

May is the perfect time to start planting, and our spring planting guide has everything you need to get your garden going! We're digging up our experts' top tips for bountiful gardens in the Quad Cities to help you start your containers and garden beds off on the right foot and show off your green thumb greatness!


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Preparing Your Iowa Garden for Planting

We know you're itching to get your hands dirty, but before you start, it's important to first prepare your garden for the upcoming planting season! Here are some of our top spring gardening tips for your Bettendorf garden:

Clear your garden beds:

Before you start tossing seeds into the ground, you'll want to give your plants the best possible start by removing any debris, weeds, or leftover plants from the previous season. Properly cleaning your garden beds will create a healthy, clean canvas for your new crops and will reduce the risk of pests and diseases creeping in.

Prepare your soil: 

Amend your soil with good compost and fertilizer as needed to ensure optimal growing conditions for your vegetables. At Wallace's, we're fully stocked on organic compost, premium potting and garden bed soil, and a wide selection of fertilizers for everything growing in your garden, so stop by and stock up today!

Plan your garden layout

When thinking about your spring and summer layout, consider factors such as sunlight exposure, spacing requirements, and utilizing companion planting to maximize the productivity of your garden space. Plant tall plants at the back of garden beds or containers for best results, and don't be afraid to mix your flowers and vegetables together for a trending cottage-style garden design!

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Planting and Sowing Seeds

With your garden prepped and ready to go, it's time to start planting! Follow these steps for successful seed sowing and transplanting:

Direct sowing vs. transplanting: 

Before you start planting, it's important to first decide whether you'll be using the direct sowing or transplanting method to start your garden. Direct sowing involves planting seeds directly into the soil where they'll grow, while transplanting involves starting seeds indoors in containers and moving them into the garden once they've established roots. In our climate here in Iowa, not all seeds can be planted directly outside, as they need a warm head start indoors to extend their growing season and make sure they have established root systems.

Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages: Direct sowing is simpler and requires less equipment, but can leave your garden more susceptible to weather and pests, and can mean a shorter growing season for some fruits and veggies. Transplanting plants allows for you to have more control over their first few weeks of life which ensures you are starting your growing season off with strong and healthy plants, but this does require additional time, space and resources.

Choosing the Right Vegetables: 

Selecting the right vegetable varieties is crucial for a successful harvest. In Bettendorf and the Quad Cities area, it's essential to opt for plants that thrive in our local conditions. Here are a few veggie garden staples, along with the varieties that we recommend: 

  • Tomatoes: For tomatoes, consider varieties like Early Girl, Celebrity, or Better Boy, which are known for their reliability and flavor. 
  • Peppers: When it comes to peppers, you can't go wrong with varieties like the California Wonder or Jalapeno, thanks to their versatility and heat levels. 
  • Cucumbers: Cucumber varieties like Straight Eight or Marketmore are excellent options for Iowa gardens due to their crisp texture and prolific yields.
  • Lettuce: For lettuce, varieties like Buttercrunch, Romaine, or Red Leaf provide a diverse range of flavors and textures for your salads.


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Growing Veggies in Containers

Don't let limited space hold you back! Check out these container gardening ideas for East Moline, Bettendorf, and Davenport:

Choosing the right containers: When selecting containers for your garden, prioritize options with adequate drainage and room for root growth. From versatile clay pots to innovative recycled containers, the choices are endless, catering to your style and budget.

Selecting container-friendly vegetables: While not all veggies thrive in containers, many are well-suited to this method. In fact, some of the best vegetables to plant in Davenport and Bettendorf include compact varieties like cherry tomatoes, dwarf peppers, and bush beans. Herbs such as basil, parsley, and chives also flourish in containers, adding flavor to your culinary creations. Additionally, leafy greens like lettuce and spinach are excellent choices for container gardening, providing a continuous harvest throughout the season.

Container gardening best practices: To ensure success as a container gardener, prioritize consistent watering to prevent your container soil from drying out. Use a well-balanced fertilizer to nourish your plants, and monitor for pests regularly, addressing any issues as soon as they come up. Place your containers in a sunny spot, as most vegetables need at least 6-8 hours of sunlight daily for optimal growth. With these best practices in mind, you'll be well on your way to a thriving container garden, regardless of your available space!


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Creating a Salsa Garden

Ready to add some zest to your garden? Follow these tips to create your very own salsa garden:

Choosing Salsa Ingredients: Start by selecting the key ingredients that will bring your salsa to life. Tomatoes are obviously the star of the show, so opt for varieties like Roma or San Marzano for their meaty texture and rich flavor. For peppers, choose a mix of hot and mild varieties such as jalapenos, serranos, and bell peppers to suit your taste preferences. You also can't forget about the onions: grow an assortment of both red and white varieties to add an incredible depth of flavor to your salsa. Finally, no salsa is complete without fresh cilantro for that unmistakable burst of freshness!

Designing Your Salsa Garden: Whether you have a sprawling backyard or a compact patio, there's a salsa garden layout that's perfect for you! Traditional rows work well for larger spaces, allowing you to plant each ingredient in its own dedicated row for easy access and maintenance. If space is limited, consider a raised bed or container garden. Arrange your plants strategically—placing taller varieties like tomatoes and peppers towards the back and smaller herbs like cilantro towards the front—to maximize space and ensure adequate sunlight and airflow for optimal growth

Harvesting Your Salsa Garden: Once your salsa garden is in full swing, it's time to reap the rewards of your hard work. Harvest your vegetables when they're ripe and flavorful, typically when they reach their peak color and firmness. Tomatoes should be picked when they're fully red and slightly soft to the touch, while peppers should be harvested when they're firm and brightly colored. Onions can be harvested once the tops have started to dry out and turn brown. As for cilantro, pick the leaves when they're young and tender for the best flavor.

With our spring planting guide, your gardening greatness is guaranteed, but we're always here to help green thumbs in the Quad Cities grow more. Come see us today for a huge selection of plants, tools, garden decor, and the friendly, expert advice Bettendorf counts on!



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