Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Basic Gardening Tips for Plants

SOIL: You always want to start with good soil, you may want to purchase a testing kit from a local garden center to find out what your soil needs. You want soil that crumbles easily in your hands. Sometimes you have to add sand, clay and compost to get the type of soil that grows plants best. You may need to turn your soil with a shovel and add soil amendments in order to get the best soil. Soil that sticks together when you press it probably has a lot of clay in it. This causes problems for good drainage of water to happen. Soil that does not stick together and has much more air in it has too much sand. It does not hold the nutrients the plants need to survive well. Loam is the best kind of soil, not as sticky as clay and not too sandy. You can add compost or an organic (natural) soil amendment, such as leaves, compost, horse manure, bat guano or pre-packaged items from the local nursery that have nutrients. Always follow the directions on the package when using pre-packaged amendments. Soil amendments and different fertilizers can help the soil get better. Soil can be either alkaline or acidic, but what you want is some of each.

WATERING: Most plants need an average of 1 inch of water every week. You should try to water your plants earlier in the day, so the sun can help dry off any water left on the plant. If you see a plant drooping, be sure to water it, because some plants wilt and do not recover if they dry out.

MULCHING: Putting a mulch around the base of plants can help hold in water for the plant and keep weeds away. It is also useful for new and tender plants during the Winter months.

RESOURCES: Use an online for gathering information about your bulb. Books, local nurseries, libraries and other people who garden may have just the information you need!

STUDY: The best idea to have a good garden is to study what kind of climate you have (check the gardening links page to go to the zone map and what kind of plants and bulbs grow there). Once you know your zone, you can find out what zones the plant will grow in. Study garden books, magazines, use online gardening magazines, plant encyclopedias and garden sites to find as much information as you can about the plants you want in your garden.

MISTAKES: Trial and error is the way many gardeners (like me) learn about what to plant and where plants like to live in your garden. Sometimes it means putting a plant in the shade instead of in the sun, or pruning back some new growth even though the plant looks fine. Suddenly you will discover two plants that look good together and one blooms right after the other! Sometimes you can plan this, and sometimes it just happens. That's part of the fun of gardening, you are always learning. Don't be afraid to make mistakes or try something different...one book may say try this while another says you should try that but you have to see what works best for you and for your garden.