Maintaining a garden can give even the most-seasoned gardener a run for their money. Between knowing what to plant and when, dealing with disease, and hours of maintenance, sometimes gardening can seem like too daunting of a task. If your heart is set on a good-looking and healthy garden, there are some simple ways to help you achieve your goals. These tips encourage healthy watering habits, knowing how to maintain healthy soil, and preventing weeds from taking over.
- Keep the soil healthy
Healthy plants come from healthy soil, and the healthier the soil, the heartier the plants. Before you plant anything, dig up the soil and break up dirt clods. Spread organic compost or well-rotted manure over where you’ll be planting. Mix the soil and compost into the top 12 inches of soil.
When fertilizing plants, keep in mind that too much can burn the roots, and make it harder for them to absorb water. Plants starved for nutrients are smaller and can’t find off disease easily.
- Know how to water properly
Plants are mostly water, so watering is almost always a good thing. It’s important, however, to remember that many diseases can come from overwatering. When watering, you’ll be better off if you choose methods that limit moisture that lands on a plants foliage.
If you have flowerbeds, it’s best to keep them evenly moist. You will need to water 1-2 times a week, but that’s it. Any more and you risk fungus and disease.
Water plants in the morning if you can. The temperature and soil will be cooler, resulting in less water evaporation. Watering at night is also a good choice.
Don’t water leaves or plant heads as this may also lead to mold.
Don’t use a super-strong spray stream as this can damage your plants.
If you travel a lot, or don’t have the time to water, try an irrigation system. A simple system helps regulate moisture.
- Know how to control weeds
Preventing weeds can seem like a full-time job sometimes. But, there are ways to help keep weeds from destroying all of your hard work.
Plant beds densely to minimize the space that weeds have to grow. Learn to space your plants to that they have room to grow, but weeds don’t. Be careful to not overcrowd plants as this will help to create humidity and mildew. Strive to strike a balance between airflow and detouring weed growth.
Laying mulch will help prevent weeds.
When pulling weeds, be sure to get the root, too. If the weed is too hard to pull, use a weeding trowel and be sure to remove the entire weed.
- Plant disease-resistant plant varieties
What does disease-resistant mean? Plants who may get sick with a problem, but will probably be able to fight it off, rather than succumbing to it are disease-resistant. Some tomatoes, for example, are resistant to VFN, ASC, and ST. That means that tomatoes will be able to fight off those fungi and disease types if they happen to catch it.
When deciding what to plant, be sure to enlist the help of a fellow gardener or someone who works at a nursery. Extra advice can also come from reference books and online sources.
- Choose the appropriate place to plant
Part of growing a successful garden is knowing what plants to plant where. You will have to determine how big you want your garden, and how much space you want to devote to each type of plant. If you plant something like an azalea where it will get full sun, it will not grow well, and will be ripe for disease and insects. That’s because azaleas need shade. If you plan one in the shade, chances are, you’ll have a healthy and vibrant plant.