Whether you’re new to gardening or you’re a seasoned pro, there are some tips that can make your next garden project a breeze.
First, pick a location for your garden that’s sunny and accessible. Vegetables and flowers need at least 6 hours of direct sun a day for optimum growth.
1. Plant in Blocks or Beds
Planting in blocks or beds is a great way to maximize your outdoor gardening space. However, it is important to be sure to choose the right size for your needs.
Building a bed that is too wide or too long can lead to compacted soil and poor drainage. To avoid these problems, build your beds no more than four feet wide.
In addition, make sure that your garden is located where water can easily run off into a drainage system. Pooled water can eventually drown your plants in the bed.
2. Plant in the Right Season
If you want to get the most out of your garden, it’s important to plant in the right season. The right season depends on your area’s climate and the type of vegetable you’re planting.
Cool-season vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, lettuce, spinach and turnips grow best in cooler conditions. You can start these seeds indoors from February for a head start and transplant them into the garden once the weather warms up.
Summer-loving vegetables such as beans, corn and tomatoes thrive in hotter temperatures. You can sow these at this time too, but you’ll need to water them well and keep an eye on their progress as they grow.
Fall is a great time to sow herbs and flowers because it’s usually a bit cooler than spring. This gives them a chance to “settle” in their new environment and bloom earlier. In addition, plants that are dormant in the fall are easier to maintain – they don’t require as much watering or weeding.
3. Make Sure Your Soil is Well-Drained
Well-drained soil is a critical requirement for any plant’s survival. This is because plants need to have a lot of water available for their roots to drink up, and they also need plenty of oxygen to breathe.
When soil drains well, water isn’t pooling on the soil surface and causing problems. Instead, it percolates through the soil particles to reach the roots of your plants where it’s needed.
There are a few simple ways to check how well-drained your soil is. First, you can try a percolation test.
Dig a hole that’s about 1 foot wide and about 1 foot deep and fill it with water. Measure the amount of water in an hour and calculate how quickly it drains.
If the water level goes down less than an inch an hour, then you have poor soil drainage and should work with it to improve it. This is also a good time to start amending it with compost or other organic materials.
4. Water Your Plants
Watering your plants is one of the most important things you can do to ensure healthy growth and blooms. Whether you’re growing flowers or vegetables, getting it right can make all the difference.
Unless you’re growing a cactus, most plants require about an inch of water per week (this is even more so during droughts) to help keep them happy and healthy. It’s best to water in the early morning when the soil is still cool from the night.
Avoid watering too often as this will suffocate your plant’s roots, which can result in root rot and other diseases. Watering less frequently is also important to avoid evaporation, which can cause your plants to become parched and weak.