For sure, there are great blooms and wondrous sights to behold in a well-maintained garden! No wonder, when many of us think of our dream gardens, we tend to imagine of our backyards supplying our kitchens and store shelves with endless supplies of fresh produce. We like to fantasize about baskets full of juicy tomatoes, radishes, carrots, peppers or different types of flowers we can harvest month after month. The good thing is, these gardening dreams can be actualized.
However, it takes time and hard work to achieve it. Even if you already have a planted garden or one that has just begun growing, your work is far from done! It is time for overall gardening to begin. In this post, I have gathered tips and techniques which will help you in ensuring your garden becomes an icon of success for the whole growing season. From choosing the right plants for your garden to watering, fertilizing and beheading, these tips should help you maintain a healthy and productive garden.
1. Water evenly and consistently
Watering plants is a simple fact. However, how you water your plants could mean the difference between failure and success. Consistently watering your garden will guarantee you the best results. After seven years as a gardener, I have found out that drip irrigation or a soaker hoarse waters the garden evenly at the same time saving almost 60 percent of the water used by sprinkler irrigation systems. These systems could also result to overwatering which facilitates the growth of moss and mold a dead giveaway which could result in dead leaf margins or wilted plants.
Under watering your plants is also harmful. It results in wilting, stunted growth or even death to your plants. Apart from just observation, a moisture meter will help you in measuring when roots are too dry or wet so that you can respond accordingly.
2. Know Your Soil type
There are different types of soils all with different watering and fertilizer needs. However, you don’t have to be a soil scientist to know how to water these soils. Before we can get to watering, I would like to share some of my tips which cut across all soil types.
- Loosen up the soil surrounding the plants to enable the plant to absorb nutrients and water quickly.
- The soil above the roots should be mulched to prevent soil erosion and evaporation
Here are some of the soil types and how they should be watered
Add organic materials such as peat and moss to clay soil to help it loosen up. And since it absorbs water at a slower rate, water only as fast as the soil can absorb it. This implies a slower watering frequency.
Sandy soil should also be topped up with organic materials to help it improve its texture. Otherwise, the soil will lose water so fast that the plants will not be in a position to absorb it.
This is a combination of clay, silt, and sand. This soil absorbs water well and also stores it long enough for plants to absorb.
3. Mulch your garden when necessary
Any organic material such as leaves, straw, hay, grass clippings or paper are good for mulching. It is always advisable to apply mulch in spring but be careful not to do it too early which could delay your soil from warming. Wait until soil temperatures reach 65 degrees before using any mulch.
Coffee grounds and pine needles will be great for plants that thrive in acidic conditions such as azaleas, raspberries, potatoes, and blueberries.
Feed the soil and the soil feeds the plants
Healthy soil is the backbone of healthy plants. It promotes the growth of healthy plants which are strong enough to resist diseases, insects, and parasites. Feed the soil with generous amounts of well-aged compost manure. You should also consider conducting a soil test to determine the nutrients your soil lacks. This way, you will keep track of the nutrients your garden needs to ensure that your crops are healthy and productive.
5. Keep your garden healthy
Apart from feeding your garden with the right nutrients, here are more tips to keep it healthy for healthy crops.
Apart from being a problem themselves, weeds also harbor parasites and insects that could cause damage to your plants. It is important to weed your garden on a regular basis especially at the beginning of every growing season. If you let weeds overcrowd your garden, they will also end up consuming all of the valuable nutrients meant for your plants leaving them starved and weak. Malnourished plants is a recipe for disaster for any garden because they eventually die.
Take out your dead plants
Dead or rotting vegetation such as plant stalks, pulled weeds and dying vegetables can become a host for parasites and pests. Get rid of them as soon as possible to prevent them from harboring disastrous parasites and diseases which can decimate your whole plant population.
Disinfect your tools
Kick out diseases from your garden by disinfecting your garden tools routinely. Tools can come into contact with sick plant parts. If not disinfected, they could transmit these diseases to healthy plants which will result in losses.
6. Provide support for plants that can’t support themselves
Plants like tomatoes, legumes, and creepers cannot support themselves. Therefore, you will have to provide support for such plants. Supporting your plants with stakes, frames, tepees or trellises comes with several benefits. It:
- optimizes growing space if you have a small garden.
- provides direct sunlight exposure to your plants.
- Facilitates adequate soil erosion.
- Renders harvesting and pruning easy.
7. Harvest as soon as your crops are ready
Harvesting in time gives your plants time to rejuvenate and prepare for the next season. It is important that you harvest your crops as soon as they are ready so that you cannot disrupt your growing and harvesting cycle. Below are tips on how to achieve this.
Vegetables and fruits should be harvested as soon as they are ready. Harvested plants should then be uprooted and if they have no signs of infections, they can be added to your compost pile to make compost manure. If your garden has vegetables that need to be harvested frequently, don’t let them overcrowd with leaves. Overgrown vegetables can become bitter and also prevent younger ones from emerging. Do not also over-harvest any of your crops because that could result in its death. Just pick what you have to so that there can be vegetables to pick tomorrow.
It’s never too early to start preparing for the next gardening season. One of the reasons for owning a garden is a constant supply of fresh produce. Therefore, as soon as you are done with one gardening season, it is time to prepare for next. After harvesting and clearing all the debris, leave the soil exposed for a few days then go ahead and cultivate for the next gardening season. Remember, the earlier you plant your garden, the earlier it is going to produce for you. As we come to the end of this post, I am sure that you’ve learned a thing or two about gardening. Now that I have shared some of my gardening tips, do you have any gardening trick or technique you feel will help out readers like you? Well if you do, why not share it with us on the comment box below. I can guarantee you that this vicinity of gardeners will appreciate your gardening tips. gardening