Gardening is one of the most rewarding hobbies you can do. It helps you connect with nature, reduce stress and boost your mood.
But gardening can also be a daunting task, especially for beginners. Luckily, there are some basic home gardening tips that you can follow to make the process easier.
Know Your Plants
When it comes to plants, there are many terms that can get confusing. Each plant has its own requirements, such as sunlight, water, and fertilizer.
Whether you’re a newbie or an experienced gardener, understanding basic plant terminology and care can help you make the most of your efforts. Start by choosing a plant that fits your home’s needs and lifestyle.
For example, consider whether you want annual or perennial plants. Annuals typically complete their life cycle in one season, while perennials flower and reproduce throughout the year.
There are a variety of apps that can help you know your plants and their needs. Some are simple to use and others offer more deluxe features.
For starters, PictureThis is a camera-enabled app that will identify and diagnose any plant in need. It also offers a community forum to troubleshoot problems. If you upgrade to the gold or premium version, you can access even more AI tools for diagnosing sick plants and access a community of plant parents.
Know Your Soil
Soil is as much a living ecosystem as plants themselves, and its health determines whether or not your garden will thrive. Getting to know your soil and its needs will give you a leg up on how to plant and care for your plants in the most effective way possible.
Soils are made up of minerals derived from rocks that have been broken down over time by climatic and environmental conditions (rain, glaciers, wind, etc). The most common types of soil are sandy, silty, loamy, clay and peat.
Soil texture is a key factor in which plants will grow best, and it can be determined by the mineral particle size. It can also be influenced by adding organic material and aerating the soil to improve its structure, as well as planting cover crops like legumes, buckwheat and clover. These ‘green manure’ crops fix nitrogen, build texture and improve aeration and drainage, while adding nutrients for healthy, strong plant growth.
Know Your Watering Schedule
Most plants need about 1 inch of water per week, whether it comes from rain or a sprinkler. In arid regions, this may be doubled to 2 inches.
When you water, remember to wet the soil and roots rather than just the surface. That will help establish deeper, stronger roots that are more able to withstand drought conditions.
The best time to water is early in the morning (before 10 a.m.) when dew is still on the leaves. This ensures that the water will soak into the soil and not evaporate in the hot afternoon sun.
Generally, watering in the evening is not as efficient as it could be because of rapid evaporation. Nevertheless, when you do water in the evening, try to use a hose with a shut-off nozzle. This will prevent water from running off and possibly onto your patio or driveway.
Know Your Pests
Identifying pests is one of the most important aspects of home gardening. Knowing what is causing the damage in your garden allows you to develop an effective pest control strategy.
Insects are the most common garden pests, but there are also several non-insect pests that can cause serious problems. Slugs and snails are a common problem because they love moisture and will rasp holes in leaves and flowers.
Another common garden pest is aphids, which are pear-shaped insects that can pierce plant tissues to eat sap. They can cause wilted leaves, stunted growth and death.
To encourage beneficial insect populations, introduce a variety of flowering plants, and include shaded shelter for these insects to lay their eggs. Ladybugs, ground beetles, and parasitic wasps are helpful because they eat aphids, mites, some insect eggs, and small caterpillars.