Gardening is an excellent way to spend your time. Whether you prefer to garden alone, water with a great gardening hose, or get your family involved, gardening can get you some quality time with nature and with the people in your life.
While it does take work, once you find out the right formula for your plants, soil, and area, as well as the best weed killer for eliminating those hideous sights, your garden will become a place where you want to spend your mornings, afternoons, and evenings.
Although it can take a few years before you find the right places to plant flowers, and figure out what plants to purchase are healthy and which ones are not, once you get into a groove, really nothing can stop you. Continue reading below to find out eight ways to begin and maintain a healthy garden.
Picking out the right plants to grow in your garden is not an easy task. The best way you can start smartly is to examine pre-grown plants carefully. Check the leaves, are they brown? Do they have spots in them? Pull the plants out, gently, of the starter pots and check the root system. Are there a lot of roots? Do they appear strong?
If the answer is no to any of these questions, you may have a harder time growing the plant.
Another helpful tip is to check many of the same plants to see how the flowering, leaves, and stems should look as opposed to how they do. Doing this can help you figure out what “healthy” looks like compared to “unhealthy.”
If you are starting from seeds, make sure to check the back of any seed pouches you are thinking of buying. A good thing to look for are the words “disease resistant.” Finding plants that are resistant to disease will help your garden continue to stay healthy, even if something should crawl up into it and try to wreak havoc.
Check your Compost Pile
Not everything in your compost pile is created equally, to ensure the healthiest form of natural compost, check your pile often. If there is an accidental wrapper, or piece of plastic in your compost, adding it to your plants could hurt more than it would help.
Looking to make sure all items in your compost are degrading will ensure that what you are adding to the plants is healthy, natural, and helpful for plant growth.
While there is no such thing as “perfection,” really when it comes to your plants, make sure to prune the stems and leaves at a good time. Check to make sure the weather won’t be too hot or too cold when you do it and remember that timing is everything.
Don’t let brown or dead stems, leaves of flowers stay on the plant for too long. Keeping dead or dying parts on your plants will take energy for the living part to maintain. It is best just to cut them off and let your flowers, vegetables, and garden grow into a healthy, beautiful area.
Look Out for Bugs
Not all bugs are bad for your garden, but when you start to see holes eaten out of the leaves and brown spots forming, check out your garden to see what creepy crawlies are lurking in your dirt and around the plant stems.
Bugs like flea beetles, cabbage moths, or other similar insects can add an extra burden to tackle, especially during the incubation process. If these bugs or bugs similar to them are in your area, add a floating row cover to protect your plants. If you wait, chances are the bugs will lay their eggs underneath the growing leaves and then new problems will develop.
Clean up in the Fall
Many plants won’t last a second year, and by the season’s end, it will be time to clean up all the plants that begin to die. It is essential to clear all dead foliage away to protect the soil for the upcoming colder season and to help maintain healthy soil for years to come.
While you don’t have to dig away root systems, researching on what is the right way to dispose of your chosen plants is an excellent idea to ensure a healthy growing season to come.
Water, Water, Everywhere
Each plant has a different way they collect water, and different soils absorb water differently. Learning which way the plants you’ve picked outtake water (and how much water to give them) can help keep your garden growing through spring and summer.
Don’t Crowd your Plants but Keep your Garden Dense
When you look through planting research, you’ll find varying opinions on what is the best way to plant your plants. There will be some places that will tell you to keep your garden dense. Other areas will tell you not to crowd your plants. It can be up to you to decide what is the best way for your yard.
If you keep your garden dense, chances are fewer weeds will grow. However, if you keep your garden thick, chances are that some plants will overtake others and their root systems will begin to absorb more nutrients and water from the soil, which will take away the growing power of other plants.
If you don’t cram your garden full of plants, you may get more weeds, but a siege attack on the root system for water and soil nutrients will not happen, and you can avoid any Mad Max plant scenarios in your future.
Harden your Plants
Better Homes and Gardens (BGH) says to take your newly incubated seedlings and plants and to harden them. This idea is essentially getting your plants used to the weather and elements about a week before they are to be planted. BGH says to keep the plants outside for a certain amount of time during the day, in a well-protected area (like under deck stairs). This action will get the plants accustomed to the weather, and they are less likely to go into any form of shock when you add them to the soil.
Resources: Better Homes and Gardens, Fine Gardening, House Beautiful