Welcome to Gardening on Cape Ann

Both gardeners and gardens alike love living on Cape Ann! For newcomers, here are some basic tips

Zone

Rockport is USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 6-B.  

Soil

Our soil here is generally on the acidic side, with a lower pH.  Due to its rocky composition, it tends to drain well; however, some areas have a sandier soil that may drain too quickly.  In both cases, adding organic matter to the soil improves moisture-holding capacity and supplies plants with much needed nutrients.  For a planting formula, see the link below. If you are growing fruits and vegetables, or your plants are struggling, it is wise to have your soil tested. Go to the "ARTICLES" tab for  planting formula and soil testing.

Watering

The best way to water your garden is by applying the water at the base of the plant and providing enough to get to the root zone. Try to keep water off leaves to avoid mildew and fungal issues. Newly planted perennials, trees, and shrubs must be soaked frequently during the first year to help establish the roots.

Fertilizing

Like all living things, your lawn, flowers, veggies, trees, and shrubs need food too.  See http://ag.umass.edu/home-lawn-garden/fact-sheets/fertilizing-guidelines

Maintenance

To encourage repeat blooming, be sure to remove spent blossoms on annuals and perennials; cut to a leaf node below the spent blossom.  Follow the appropriate pruning guidelines to care for trees and shrubs. 

Annuals and Perennials

Annuals bloom all summer long but last for only one season.  Perennials usually have shorter bloom periods but live for several years. Combining both types of flowers can provide season-long color.  Look under the “ARTICLES” tab for more information on annuals and perennials.   

Shade Plants

Finding plants that tolerate partial to full shade, sometimes seems like a challenge.  The reality is there are many shade plants available that live happily in these conditions.   Look under the “ARTICLES” tab for a list of 50 Best Shade Plants for perennials and http://ag.umass.edu/home-lawn-garden/fact-sheets/annuals-for-shade   

Seed Starting

To get a jump on spring, try starting your own seeds indoors. Go to "ARTICLES"  for more information.

Trees and Shrubs

Some trees and shrubs handle windy and saltier air better. Go to "ARTICLES" for more information.

Low-Maintenance Plants

Some flowers, shrubs, and trees require less maintenance than other varieties.  Go to "ARTICLES" for more information.