There’s nothing more rewarding than growing your own food and flowers. Ensuring you create a healthy environment for your plants takes more than ample light, water, and food. There are environmental factors to consider, along with the unique needs of each plant that can affect crops and blooms.
If you struggle to help your garden thrive, the following tips will boost your green thumb!
Select Plants Ideal for Your Region
It’s easy to fall in love with plants and fill your garden with exotic species of gorgeous flowers and tasty produce. The disappointment when they aren’t thriving is disappointing, often due to poor climate or soil environment. Some flowers require intense sunlight and a specific moisture and temperature level to mature. Growth becomes stunted if any of these factors don’t align with the plant’s needs.
When you visit a plant and tree nursery to select plants for your garden and flower beds, find out which species match your area. Additionally, find out which pests are indigenous to your region and choose veggies and flowers that are naturally resistant.
Create a Safe Growing Environment
Now that you know which plants are best for your garden, create an environment that supports their growth. Remember, young seedlings are fragile and take time to build strength against breezes and rain. Start them off in a greenhouse or growing tent and have a fan gently circulate air to toughen them up.
Before they are ready to transplant to larger pots or garden areas, ensure ample sunlight for plants that require it and shade for those that don’t. Try to pick a spot that doesn’t experience extreme wind streams and is reasonably shielded to prevent breakage.
You should also make the same considerations regarding drainage. If you notice water pooling, aerate compacted soil to help wick away excess moisture. This step can minimize the chance of mold and root rot setting in.
Create a Nutrient Rich Soil
If your plants aren’t thriving despite being appropriate for where you live, the pH of your soil may be the issue, or there just needs to be more nutrients. Adding compost to your dirt and letting it rest for a season will help replenish any missing minerals and organic matter plants need to survive.
Remember, root systems are responsible for absorbing nutrients and fueling plant growth. Therefore, spraying fertilizer on its leaves won’t do much and could potentially burn the leaves.
Be Strategic About Planting
The placement and spacing of your plants are aspects of gardening that are easy to overlook. Generally, you can plant intensively or in rows. The first method involves closely planting and leaving just enough room for mature leaves to touch. As a result, you’ll enjoy a larger harvest and have fewer weeds to worry about, though any you find will need manual pulling since there won’t be room to use garden tools.
If you opt to plant in rows, you’ll leave at least 18″ spacing between, creating maneuverability. This method makes maintenance easier because you can walk through your garden without stepping on your crops.
Also, consider staggering your planting so that you aren’t harvesting more than you need, which generates waste. This strategy requires you to plant partial amounts throughout two-week intervals.
Create a Consistent Watering Schedule
Watering your plants can be a tricky business. A general rule of thumb is to only provide 1″ – 1.5″ of water a week between precipitation and your hose. The goal is to ensure that soil stays moist down to the roots but not drowning wet. Manually irrigation should only occur once a week or break things up into a biweekly routine.
If you plan to leave town for a few days, don’t assume your plants will be okay on their own. A lot can go wrong in a short time, so enlist a friend or family member to stop by and maintain your watering schedule.
Keep Pests Under Control
It’s no secret that many insects and wildlife love gardens. Many creatures benefit from your plants, like ground beetles and butterflies. Unfortunately, there are a plethora of pests that can infest and decimate your garden in a matter of weeks if not kept under control:
- Spider mites
These are just a few of the many potential threats to the health of your plants. While buying a pesticide that kills everything is tempting, you’ll also lose your pollinators like bees and butterflies. Without them, you won’t enjoy the beautiful flowers, vegetables, and fruit you’ve planted.
Be patient, identify insects you suspect are causing issues, and use a product that directly addresses that particular pest. This will help you maintain a healthy ecosystem in your garden and support plant health.
Don’t Be Afraid of Pruning
Plants are like humans in that they regenerate their cells every day. Eventually, older parts of their structures are no longer maintained, and new growth has begun. To help your plant maximize its energy, prune back areas that have become overgrown and hard to manage. Your plant already has new stems, leaves, and buds forming, so you’re helping it thrive.
Use the Correct Fertilizer
Throughout the growing season, your plants will continuously leach nutrients out of the soil to fuel their growth. However, you’ll still need to supplement this process and can even boost production using fertilizer.
Before you pick a one-size-fits-all product to feed your entire garden, consider the different types of fertilizer available and how they can benefit your plants:
- Organic fertilizers use formulas derived from natural ingredients like compost, bone meal, and manure. These products typically get released slowly, so your plants are fed continuously, and soil quality stays high.
- Synthetic fertilizers have formulas containing man-made compounds that target the plant and not soil. These are released quickly and require frequent reapplication.
- Inorganic fertilizers release minerals and nutrients quickly and are made from minerals and chemicals found in the earth, but nothing organic like manure or compost. However, it also releases nutrients quickly and does add some enrichment to the soil.
Many factors can determine if a plant will be healthy or struggle to survive. From soil conditions to pest control and planting strategies, your garden requires regular attention and care to become a bountiful patch of beautiful fruits, veggies, and flowers. The eight tips shared in this article are essential to support plant health, so be sure to plan well ahead of the growing season in your area to get the best results for your hard work.