Can you grow a spring garden? Test your green-thumb knowledge!

Estimated Completion Time
3 min
Can you grow a spring garden? Test your green-thumb knowledge!
Image: Robert Kirk/Stockbyte/Getty Images

About This Quiz

The trees are budding, the flowers are blooming, and your garden is still a bare expanse of dirt. Shouldn't you be outside with some plants and a trowel? Oh well. While we've got you at the computer, take our spring planting quiz!
Spring is a great time to plant grass. At what soil temperature do grass seeds germinate?
55 degrees Fahrenheit (12.7 degrees Celsius)
65 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 degrees Celsius)
Seed your lawn when the spring days consistently warm to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Water regularly to maintain soil moisture and fertilize with a slow-release, low-nitrogen product.
75 degrees Fahrenheit (23.8 degrees Celsius)

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Grass can be awfully difficult to grow sometimes. Which is NOT a way to encourage growth?
Get a soil test and correct any nutrient deficiencies.
After you first plant grass, make sure that the soil remains dry.
Dry soil is not good. You'll also want to make sure you choose the best variety of grass for your region of the country and the amount of sunlight in your yard.
Aerate any trouble spots.

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When it comes to your lawn, "going green" isn't just about lush vegetation. Which is the least sustainable way to landscape your yard?
planting clover
sowing turfgrass
Turfgrass maintenance requires a lot of water, gasoline, fertilizer and herbicides. Still, there are 50,000 square miles (128,000 square kilometers) of turfgrass lawns in the United States.
xeriscaping

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Seeds aren't the only thing to grow a vegetable. Which is NOT a part of a veggie from which you can start a new plant?
crowns
cloves
leaves
The answer is leaves. Crowns are compressed stems near the soil surface used to start asparagus plants. Garlic plants are started from cloves, which are the segmented parts of bulbs. Veggies can also be started from suckers, tubers, slips, sets, divisions and cuttings.

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Which is traditionally regarded as the first flower of spring? (Hint: The name gives it away!)
hosta
crocus
primrose
Primrose is a perennial whose name means "first rose." New plants should be planted in the early spring.

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For gardening on a budget, nothing beats growing plants from seeds. What are the best conditions in which to start seeds?
indoors under bright lights
Indoors under bright light. Put the lights on a timer set to turn on for 14 hours a day.
indoors by a north-facing window
outdoors a few weeks before the last frost

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True or false: When sowing your outdoor garden, seed only as many plants as you'll need.
true
false
False. Tiny plants are vulnerable to everything from aphids to chipmunks, so it's a good idea to plant more than you need and thin them later.

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Wait, you can grow an ornamental garden in the shade? Of course! Which is NOT a shade-loving plant?
impatiens
moss
petunias
Petunias need a minimum of five hours of sun each day, while moss and impatiens do great in partial to full shade.

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True or false: You can grow vegetables even in low-light conditions.
true
True. Plants located in partial shade may not be as luxuriant and robust as those that hang out in full sunlight, but many will still yield great-tasting edibles.
false

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So you've got a shady back yard (stupid trees). What veggies will grow the best in these shadows?
leafy greens
Leafy greens are your best bet. These include lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, arugula, endive, radicchio, kale, mustard, cabbage and bok choy. Herbs like cilantro, chives, mint and lemon balm will also grow in these shadowy conditions.
root vegetables
vegetables that fruit from flowers

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In a shady yard, your plants need all the light they can get. Which is NOT a way to maximize light in your shadowy garden in the Northern Hemisphere?
Plant veggies on the north side of a building.
Situate taller plants to the north of shorter plants.
In the Northern Hemisphere, the sun always shines from the south half of the sky. Plants located on the north side of a building will be in constant shade.
Locate plants in the stippled shade of a tree instead of the solid shade of a building.

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Spring planting and weeding go hand in hand. What is the best way to get rid of weeds?
Cover your garden with a thick layer of mulch.
Mulch it. About a 3-inch (7.6-centimeter) layer of wood chips will do.
Fry those pesky invaders with a blowtorch.
Leave the dirt in your garden bare and moist.

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Some herbs will come back each year, but others have to be replanted every spring. Which herb is an annual?
rosemary
oregano
basil
The answer is basil. Chives, peppermint, sage and thyme are some popular perennials, while common annuals include coriander and dill.

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Because herbs like mint and bee balm grow like crazy, they're referred to as:
dominant herbs
rampant herbs
Rampant herbs should never be planted in the ground. Instead, plant them in large plastic pots with the bottom removed and the top rim emerging an inch or two above the soil surface.
smothering herbs

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When this plant sprouts in the spring, you know it's safe to start planting bulbs:
daffodil
Though daffodil bulbs should be planted in the fall, they sprout and bloom into bursts of yellow, pink, peach or white in the early spring.
dandelion
snakeweed

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Loam is not a funny-smelling, puttylike children's toy. It's the ideal soil for a garden! Which is NOT one of its two main ingredients?
silt
sand
gravel
Loam is a mixture of 20 percent clay, 40 percent silt and 40 percent sand.

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True or false: A little frost never hurt a bulb. In fact, it might actually make the plant grow faster.
true
false
Most bulbs are susceptible to frost and will be destroyed in the event of a late spring frost.

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Which is a plant you should avoid buying at a nursery?
an annual with no blooms on it
Annual with no blooms. These plants are described as "root-bound," meaning that they have matted roots and are too big for their pots.
a stocky plant with healthy green leaves
a plant with roots growing out the bottom of the market pack

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You couldn't sell a fish without water, but you can sell a plant without soil. A plant sold with no soil around its roots is referred to as:
soil-free
unanchored
bare-root
Mail-order plants are often sent bare-root.

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Not all plants are shipped to a nursery from far away. What do you call a plant that originates from and grows well in your area?
native plant
Because native plants are well-suited to your climate, they don't have to be watered as much as many non-native, or "exotic" plants.
local plant
community plant

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You Got:
/20
Robert Kirk/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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