5 Basics of Gardening

If you’re reading this article then you are probably interested in having a beautiful and fruitful garden. We don’t always think of an ornamental garden being fruitful, but if you want a nice yard your plants need to be bearing fruit of some kind. Virtually all of the flowers and beautiful colors you see in your garden are fruit. Unfortunately, turning your vision into a reality can be problematic and discouraging without the proper knowledge. This article is help avoid those pitfalls commonly associated with garden planning and maintenance.

 

1. Irrigation

Watering is the single most important part of gardening. A basic understanding of your timer and clock management is critical. If you are not adjusting your timer every month then you are probably habitually over or under watering your garden. Either way your garden will suffer and manifest it’s dissatisfaction. Turning water off in the winter may also be harmful to your plants if there is no rain for several weeks. Ground freezing can be prevented by carefully planned watering to help prevent damage to sensitive plants as well.

Professional Tip: A properly watered garden will maintain its moisture an inch below the surface. Dig down about an inch and examine the dirt. If the dirt is still dry, your garden is probably under-watered. If it is soggy all the way to the surface, your garden is over-watered. In either case, its time to adjust your watering habits. Consult a professional to make sure your garden is getting the optimal amount of water.

2. Soil Structure and PH

Soil structure and PH are commonly misunderstood because it is a subject that is difficult to understand. If you ever suspect a PH problem it is time to consult a professional. However, there are preventive measures you can take to insure that your garden’s PH level never becomes a problem. The most important step to gardening that affects your PH levels, and easiest to mess up, is fertilizing. Fertilizer is not always critical for your garden’s survival but if you want a lush garden you cannot neglect a good fertilizer program. There are many types of fertilizer and many formulations so it is important to understand when to fertilize, how to fertilize and what to use when you fertilize. When it comes to fertilizer moderation is paramount. Make sure you read the label and apply the fertilizer properly. You may burn, or kill, your plants by being overzealous.

Professional Tip: Make sure you get a balanced fertilizer. Many popular fertilizers are high in nitrogen content. This will lead to quick growth, but the undeveloped root structure will compromise the plants future health.

3. Insecticides and herbicides

Weeds, insects and fungus can be a real problem for any garden so its important to know the basics. Most people spend all their time fighting weeds, aphids, lawn rust, bark beetles, etc. yet have no idea how easy it is to control all these problems with preventative chemicals that they can buy at the local garden center. Timing is the key with pests and prevention is always better than having to deal with an outbreak. A basic understanding can prevent hours of back breaking work.

Professional Tip: When installing your garden, plan ahead. Research the common insect, weed, and fungus associations with the plants you have chosen. Then find a chemical at the local gardening center that can help prevent insect infiltration. If you already have a garden and a insect, weed, or fungus problem, the first step is identifying the problem. Many people will throw everything in the garden shed at any insect or weed problem. Unfortunately, this usually ends up compromising their garden in a way they never imagined. Keep in mind that most critters in your garden are helping to maintain a healthy and balanced ecosystem. If you start inadvertently killing any and everything, you may end up making things much worse.

4. Pruning and Trimming

There are a myriad of different pruning and trimming techniques for both plants and trees. The key is to make sure you are using the right ones. Some plants require heavy annual pruning while others require constant summer pruning. Sometimes hand pruners are the right choice. Other time shearers are ideal. Before giving your plants a quick clean up, it is important to know the difference between structural pruning, shaping, crown cleaning and hedge shearing. For example, using hedge shearers on a Japanese Maple will destroy the aesthetic appeal these beautiful trees are known for.

Professional Tip: Many flowering shrubs are trained into low growing hedges and require constant pruning in order to keep the hedge straight. But pruning these shrubs just prior to spring bloom will affect the floral impact of the hedge. Instead try pruning them in January and waiting until the bloom is over before the second trimming. This way you can enjoy the bloom without having a hedge that is completely wild and unkempt.

5. Know What Kind of Plants You Have

All of the tips above require a basic understanding of the plants in your garden. It is easy to think that plants all require a similar watering, fertilizing, sun, shade, etc., but that is far from the truth. If you are in the beginning phases of installing a garden, take the time to learn the different needs of the plants you are installing. If not, don’t spin your wheels with quick fixes. Take the time to learn about your plants and trees and seek out the best method of maintaining them. Remember, gardening is about patience. The quick fix is usually the wrong fix.

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