What makes a garden great? Well there are many different factors from design to weather patterns. There is no perfect equation to make your garden great all season long; however, you can focus on ensuring that your garden has the best start this spring by covering the fundamentals and following these great tips.
Enjoy these 10 useful tips to help you make your garden great this year:
- Learn what each variety requires for care and culture to give the best performance. Use books, the internet, and the experience of other gardeners.
- Choose what’s right for your area. Plants have a lot of regional flexibility, however use some common sense. For example, if you live in the desert, don’t expect tender, cool growing plants to do their best.
- Location, location, location! Most gardens fall into two categories – sun or shade. Sun loving plants generally need a minimum of 8 hours of sun a day, while shade loving plants will be happy with just a minimum of reflected, ambient light. Sun or shade, the location should also be easily accessible to properly tend, maintain, and enjoy.
- Make a plan or drawing. Sketching down a layout before purchasing your plants will give a much clearer idea of “just how many of what” you will need for that perfect garden.
- Work that soil. With only rare exceptions, all gardens benefit from nutrient rich, well-draining soil. As soon as the soil is workable in your region, begin by digging deeply, turning the soil and remove weeds and other debris. Add copious amounts of organic material like peat, compost, composted manures, even fireplace ashes, and turn them in to the soil. In lieu of organic material, substitute a quality planting mix.
- Mulch the garden. After the plants are in, apply a good 2”-3” layer of mulch all over the garden. Use any of a number of good organic substances like compost, cocoa shells, straw, finely shredded bark, or purchase a good ready made mulch. This not only makes a neat presentation but also discourages weeds, retains moisture, and over time, breaks down to add to the health of the soil.
- Water according to the plant’s needs and be consistent about it. Irregular watering stresses the plants and leaves them vulnerable to diseases, pests, and overall poor health and performance.
- Fertilize – you don’t eat only once a year, why think that plants do?! It’s good to add a balanced time-release fertilizer when originally preparing
- the bed to get things off to a good start. A few supplemental feedings with liquid plant food throughout the growing season will ensure healthy, robust and productive plants.
- Be pest diligent – We all have pesticides and the like available to use, but consider some earth friendly solutions first. Simple things like hand picking of caterpillars and snails is very effective and immediate. There are many simple organic “traps” that can be bought or made at home that only need to be emptied once a day to remove a myriad of critters.
- Keep a journal – A journal can be as simple or detailed as you like, but just the basics like what was planted and when, dates when fertilizer was last applied, which varieties thrived and which ones were a bust is a wealth of knowledge irreplaceable for next season. Remember no one can grow everything, but with a little preparation, persistence and experience everyone can grow many things wonderfully!
Take a look at more of our Gardening 101 posts here on The Apron Blog.
Check out our Home Depot Forums, too, for gardening advice. Get your gardening questions answered by Home Depot gardening experts. We’d also love to hear your gardening stories–triumphs, tragedies and clever ideas.
You can also always speak to one of our Certified Nursery Consultants at your local Home Depot Store. He or she will be happy to give you gardening advice, point you to the right product or offer ideas how to make your garden a place of pride.