How To Make the Most of Your Garden
Are you a novice gardener who's itching to get your hands dirty? Well before you pick up that shovel, there are a lot of pitfalls a beginner gardener can fall into. Read on for some helpful information on creating a beautiful garden.
Have a game plan
It's too easy to go into your local nursery and start buying every plant that looks good to your eye. But before you buy anything, do your research. Does the plant you like require more maintenance than you can handle? Is it a sun loving plant that you plan to plant in a shady yard? Will this plant thrive in your particular soil type? These are just some of the questions you need to ask yourself. By planning your garden on paper, you can plan which plants will work best for you. There's less of a chance of "surprises" if you do a little research first.
Choose healthy plants
When selecting plants, stay away from anything that looks spindly and unhealthy. Inspect plants carefully for any signs of disease, fungus, or pots that may possibly be root bound. Also remember, even if the plant has lots of pretty blooming flowers, look it over to ensure there's lots of buds ready to pop open once you get your plant home.
Don't rely on your existing soil
Rarely do people have perfect soil. Most soil is too sandy or clay-like. Some soil is too acidic or alkaline. You can test the kind of soil you have (you can buy test kits at most home and garden centers) and make adjustments accordingly. Always blend existing soil with a good blend of compost and manure
Timing is everything
When those first warm days of spring arrive, it can be very tempting to want to put your plants in the ground. Don't do it! This is especially true in the northern climates where spring weather can be terribly unpredictable. Remember, even though the air may feel toasty, it takes awhile for the soil to warm up. Your safest bet is to put your transplants in the ground when night temperatures stay consistently above 50 degrees. This will prevent undo stress on your plants and give seeds a better chance to thrive.
Make sure you're planting technique is correct
Too often people dig the wrong size hole for their particular plant. If the hole is too big, the soil in the hole will eventually settle around the base of the plant causing it to slowly die. If the hole is too small, there's nowhere for the roots to grow and not enough soil to provide the nutrients, oxygen, and water required to make your plant grow properly. For optimal results, holes should be no deeper than the depth of the pot and the width should be approximately 5 inches bigger than the diameter of the pot.
Water, water, water
Watering newly transplanted plants is one of the key steps to establishing a strong root system. Once you have planted your new plant make sure you give it enough water. A good rule of thumb is to water to a soil depth of 6 inches or so. Make sure you are aware of your plant's water requirement s to ensure you don't over or under water your plant.
Don't forget to weed
Unwieldy weeds can easily inhibit the growth of more desirable plants. If not kept under control, these less than attractive garden dwellers will rob your favorite plants of water and other precious nutrients. So stomp out, or rather pull out, the competition. Be diligent about weeding.