If you’re a novice gardener or have never tried growing plants before, here are some gardening tips and tricks to help you get started.
Planting your plants properly is essential to their success. Whether you’re planting bareroot, container or balled and burlapped (B&B), there are certain guidelines that can help increase the chances of your plants being successful.
1. Know Your Soil
Taking care of your soil is one of the most important aspects of gardening. Poor soil can make plants struggle to grow and become a perfect breeding ground for weeds.
Your soil’s pH and nutrient levels are vital to your garden’s success. It’s best to get a soil test before you start adding fertilizers and amendments.
You can do a simple DIY soil test at home. Dig up a small section about six to 10 inches deep and break it apart with your fingers.
Crumbs that break apart easily and are made up of different sized particles (aggregates) indicate good sandy soil. Soil that’s too hard to break up easily indicates clay soil.
When it comes to transplanting, it is important to be patient and not rush the process. This will help your plant have a better chance of making it through the move and into its new home.
Transplanting is the process of moving a plant from one location to another, usually to a different type of soil. It is often used to propagate horticultural or agricultural species as well as to relocate natural communities that are in danger of being lost.
When transplanting, it is important to avoid ‘transplant shock’, which can cause the leaves of the plant to wilt or even die. This can be avoided by choosing the right time of year and adjusting other factors such as water availability, temperature, light and wind to help the plant heal after the move.
Watering is one of the most important aspects of growing plants, both indoors and outdoors. Not watering enough can cause problems like root rot and disease, while too much water can cause wilting and even shriveling.
Plants have different needs depending on their type, age, light conditions, and other factors. It’s best to know your plant well before determining how often it will need watering.
Keeping track of soil moisture is the easiest way to determine if a plant needs watering. Simply stick your finger up to the knuckle into the potting mix and feel around for dampness.
If the top layer of soil feels dry, water. You can also pick up your plant and feel how heavy it feels compared to the rest of its pot.
Pruning helps trees and shrubs establish a strong structure for growth. It also improves the sunlight that reaches lower branches, encouraging branching and fruit production.
It also helps prevent storm damage, and reduces the risk of injury from broken or dead branches. In addition, it can improve the overall appearance of your landscape.
Most deciduous trees should be pruned every two to three years. Shrubs may be pruned more often depending on the goals you have for them.
Whether you want your trees to be thicker or thinner, to have more foliage or more flowers, pruning will help you meet your goals. Keep in mind, though, that different tree species require different pruning methods.
Mulching is the ultimate time-saver for any gardener, as it retains soil moisture and suppresses weeds. It also prevents soil erosion and regulates temperatures – making it ideal for vegetable, flower and fruiting crops.
It’s best to apply mulch in the spring, when weeds aren’t yet a problem and herbaceous plants haven’t started growing. In autumn, it’s also a good idea to re-mulch, as trees shed their leaves and create a protective mat for the next growing season that traps moisture, insulates the soil from wild temperature swings and suppresses weeds.
A variety of organic materials are suitable for mulching, from bark to shredded wood chips. If you’re unsure about which material is the best choice, consult with your local nursery or garden center.