~ Are you making plans to start your very own garden that produces beautiful plants all season long? It sure is easy to get overwhelmed with all the plant’s needs. Too much nitrogen in the compost? Not enough water for the cucumbers, and too much for the potatoes? And why do the roses keep getting aphids?! Gardening, which should be a relaxing hobby, can become overwhelming as you battle weeds, watering schedules, and slugs and pests galore.
It does not have to get out of hand though. If you are new to gardening, do not get discouraged if your seedlings suddenly have root rot, or you notice blight on your tomatoes. Let’s go over some tips so that you enjoy gardening, and continue to improve.
- Start small. If you want to have a huge flower bed and vegetable garden one year, do not do it all at once. Please! Even in our Master Gardening classes, this is the first thing they teach us. Start small, learn and expand at a later date. Focus on a handful of plants so that you can monitor them better. It is fun to think about having 100 different varieties of herbs, vegetables, fruits, trees, and flowers, but if you can not keep up with so many, you not going to be able to do even a fraction of that. So, think about which flowers bring you out most joy, or which herbs or vegetables you use most in your cooking, then pick a handful of these to care for.
- Water matters. Assume that mature plants automatically need watering every day could lead to a fruit rot or cracking. What if it rains? Do you still need to water that day? There are several ways to gauge how often you should water a plant. If you experience rain or drought (variations of temperatures and weather conditions), throughout your growing season, consider using a rain gauge. Unsure of which one to get? Check out this rain gauges comparison guide. If your plants are wilting in the hot summer afternoons, that doesn’t automatically mean they aren’t getting enough water, as plants with larger leaves like sunflowers and cucurbits will wilt in the heat, and perk up as it cools again.
- Consider gardening with “hardy” plants. Right time, right season, right plant, right combination of seedlings and spacing. All matters. Keep a diary and of course plant the right plant in the right month. The bugs that are prevalent during those months will stay away from the plantings that are designed to thrive in the upcoming weather conditions.
- Before you plant, make sure your garden is situated in a place that has quite a bit of sun. Six hours a day is typically enough for the allocation of your vegetable garden. Especially if the veggies that are geared to produce fruits. Even plants that boast being a partial shade plant will benefit from a couple of hours of sun-rays each day.
- Research your frost dates. Even if it is warmer outside, your plants might be singing a different tune if it dips into the 30s and 40s in the evening. Take into consideration the reality that soil takes much longer to heat up 6 or 12 inches below ground than the very top of the soil. If the soil is wet, it takes even longer to heat up. Know your frost date, and wait until you are guaranteed to have nights that stay above recommended temperatures in your area before putting roots into the soil, or consider getting a garden soil thermometer. Some plants are frost tolerant, such as beets and kale, thus, knowing the frost dates brings benefits to the variety of plants that you are planning to grow.
Ultimately, have fun! Take a step back from all the planned gardening activities and work on just a small portion of the garden. Starting small and growing is the ideal way to have a flourishing rewards.
Make it a very grounding, nutritious, green and safe day.
Until next time, dear friends.