Perhaps you are one of those people who after seeing a skilled gardener carefully pruning plants and arranging specialized fertilizer, think developing the green thumb yourself is simply impossible. You might be thinking you need years of experience to create something where vegetation thrives. Well, you will be glad to know that you’re wrong. If you want to have an adorable little garden, or even a lush and large one, around your home, there are some tips and tricks that you can follow to get started and start right. Keep reading to learn more about how you can get a green thumb.
Deadhead Flowers Regularly
No, you don’t have listen to the Grateful Dead (though it would be cool if you do). It just means you have to remove the dead flowers regularly so that there is room for new ones to sprout. Aside from encouraging more flower buds, deadheading will make your plant look neater. You can do this by using hand pruners, pinching flowers off between your fingers, or shearing the plant back by roughly a third. Deadheading has to be done throughout the growing season.
Make Sure To Rotate Crops
It’s vital that you plant different species in one spot of your garden every time you start your yearly gardening. Different plants use different amounts of nutrients in the soil and a few plants even add nutrients. By simply moving crops around your garden you ensure that the soil remains nutrient-filled. For example, you can alternate between a tomato and a bean every year. Or you can replace broccoli grown in spring with peas.
Understand Your Lawn Drainage
We are sure you don’t want to see the garden that you have worked hard on and are super proud of drowned after a storm. It is best you know where the water drains out after heavy rainfalls, so you can plan on how to direct the water. If there is a low spot in your garden and water accumulates there, you can build a dry well or rain garden to drain that water.
Plan Your Garden Carefully
After you have made the decision to start a garden, it’s imperative that you choose a spot which is ideal for the vegetation. An area which gets direct sunlight for half a day or longer is ideal. You should also make sure that there is good air circulation and drainage. Ideally, the location should be level and has loose, rich soil. It is also better if the source of water is nearby.
Know More About Fertilizer
When deciding which fertilizer to choose among various options, hardcore gardeners remember to look for three important ingredients: phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium. All three ingredients ensure plants will grow in an environment that is rich in minerals. The ratio for these ingredients should be 10-20-10 (phosphorus, nitrogen, potassium). These fertilizers are usually easy to find. Also, remember that fertilizing before planting is best so the fertilizer can be worked deep into the soil.
Even if you don’t really garden, it is best not to leave weeds on your lawn because they will make it look unsightly. To eliminate each weed totally, pull it by the deepest root. It is much easier to pull weeds when the soil is wet, so you can do it a day after it rains. You can use a pair of gardening gloves and some weeding tools. Also, you can add some mulch, which deprives weeds of light but keeps the soil moist and cool for the plants.
Lube Your Shovel
It’s really annoying when soil keeps sticking to the shovel like glue while you’re digging. However, this issue can easily be fixed by putting some petroleum jelly on it or spraying it with WD-40. You can also use this trick on a spading fork, garden trowel, or hoe. You will notice the soil sliding right off. If your garden has clay-like soil, then this tip is especially useful. Just remember to grease your shovel before you start digging.
Old leaves act as great mulch, fertilizer, and compost — that’s a threefer! What’s more, laying the leaves over your garden can help prevent frost damage. You can stockpile your leaves in a dedicated bin. Stash your leaves during fall and then mix them with greens during summer and spring to balance out your compost mixture. If DIYing is your thing, you can make your own leaf compost bin by using metal or plastic wire netting and a pair of wooden stakes.
Save The Seeds
Did you know that it’s super easy to grow foods like tomatoes and veggies which have seeds? Dry out the seeds and place them in rich potting soil. You won’t need to spend on produce anymore! So maybe now you’re seriously considering saving seeds. There are a couple of things that you should remember. Make sure that the seeds you are preserving for future plantings are thoroughly dry. Also, place the seeds in paper envelopes or some seed packets, and then put the seed packets in jars, which should be kept in cool and dark place.
Learn About Potting Soil
Sometimes, the soil that you buy for potted plants already has fertilizer mixed in it. Make sure that you read up about whether the plant needs some additional fertilizer or not. A lot of people do not know that potting soil is a blend of ingredients that is used to grow plants and is actually soilless! It is ideal for growing containerized plants, drains better and is more lightweight than regular garden soil, and is easy to handle and consistent.
Don’t Rake Leaves
You might be really tempted to rake up the mountain of dead leaves covering your garden during the fall, but leave them be! The leaves are great fertilizer as they decompose, increasing soil health. Also, the leaves provide a habitat to animals and insects like butterflies, salamanders, toads, earthworms and others. If you rake the leaves, you can disrupt the life cycle of beneficial insects and eliminate them. Those insects are your friends come growing season.
Unravel Roots That Are Bound
Buying potted plants is certainly more convenient compared to potting them yourself. However, nutrient consumption is limited due to the bound roots on them. With your hands, break the mold apart. If the plant is very much root bound and you can use your fingers, use a sharp knife to cut long vertical lines on the root ball’s side. Three to five cuts are usually enough. After doing this, quickly get the plant in the ground.
Learn About Hardiness Zones
A hardiness zone is an area where specific plants grow best. The United States Department of Agriculture creates hardiness zone maps. Before you plant anything, make sure you check out the maps to learn which plants flourish in the particular area to have maximum vegetation. Of course, you can choose not to check the map and just plant what you want but you should not expect to have a lot of success.
Understand The Soil
Before you buy plants that you think will flourish, find out about the soil that is on your property to avoid wasting money on buying seeds which won’t grow. There are three main soil types: sand, clay, and silt. For most plants, the best soil is a rich and sandy loam, which is an even mixture of all types of soil. This is because loam soil has a higher pH level, a higher calcium level, and a gritty texture.
Use Packing Peanuts
Do you love the look of huge planters on your patio or deck? Lugging around large planters can cause some strain on your back. Do your back a favor. Put packing peanuts in the bottom half of huge pots to cut down the weight significantly. You can fill up to 1/2 of your pot with the lightweight material. Aside from making the pot lighter, they create better drainage for your plants.
Take Care Of Your Pets
You pets may enjoy investigating gardens, but if you’re letting them explore your garden, make sure that your plants are pet-friendly as some species are actually poisonous when consumed! Also, don’t just leave your dog in the garden as they might get bored and find ways to have fun – at the expense of your favorite plants. You can also give your pet some toys. To keep your dog in your yard, make sure to latch your gates.
Plant At The Right Time
It’s important to know when the best time is to start plants from seed because this will enhance germination. It also helps ensure healthy vigorous plants. Do some research. Plant everything accordingly rather than wasting time screwing everything up. Between late March and late May is usually the best time for starting seeds. Southern US zones are suitable for starting in the earlier months. Give the plant time to germinate and grow before transplanting it.
Keep Squirrels Away
Those pesky squirrels enjoy snacking on the bulbs of many kinds of flowers. To keep those buggers away, cover your garden with chicken wire. Also, remove things that attract the animals like nuts or berries that fall on your ground. You can use squirrel repellants, such as essential oils or strong smells. Squirrels don’t like garlic or anything spicy. There are motion activated lights, sprinklers, and sonic repellers that surprise the animals and make them run away.
Move Perennials Around
Gardeners often dig up their perennials (anything that has fibrous roots) carefully and relocate them during late summer or early autumn. What this does is control the plants’ growth and size. Just make sure that you don’t split the plants where they’re blooming. For best results, do this on a cloudy day so the sun won’t dry out the plant or in late afternoon. The plant can start settling in without getting stressed.
Be Careful Of Aggressive Plants
Segregate aggressive plants because these species will overtake your garden. Make sure that they have their own confined space. If you’re clearing an area, look out for hazardous species. Few are worse than hogweed, a seemingly innocent flowering plant that could actually cause burns on the skin. An attractive way to keep plants from spreading is by installing concrete curbing. Plants aren’t usually able to get through a concrete curb.