My garden care tips

As a landscaper, I regularly get asked by family and friends for my best garden care tips therefore I thought it would be useful to write an article to share them with you.

Keeping your garden looking great depends on developing good technique, having right equipment and being organized enough to do right things at right time. Considerable time is required for installing a new garden. Flower gardens require more maintenance than mulched shrub areas or lawns. However, special skills are not required for caring for a thriving garden. These garden maintenance tips will help you to keep your garden in the best possible way. Please note: you should purchase the best tools you can afford. You should understand that there is no substitute for good tools.

Watering

You should check the soil moisture at root zone, but the roots of plants should not be damaged when you dig. Mature plants have deeper, larger and wider root zones. You can dig deeper for watering large established plants. Soil should be soaked deeply when watering. It is important to water soil to at least a couple of inches. If the moisture is available only on the surface of the soil, plants will have difficulty developing deep roots. If possible, soil should be cultivated before watering. Aerated, loose soil can absorb water more easily. Check your garden at least once a week to ensure it is receiving sufficient water.

Mulching

A layer (usually 3” to 4”) of mulch should be spread over vegetable beds. It is helpful for reducing loss of water from soil and suppressing weed growth. Organic mulches (like shredded dry leaves, compost, stray, dry grass clippings, etc) can add nutrients to the soil, help building soil structure, suppress weeds and reduce water loss.

Mulch

Fertilizing

Fertilizer and soil amendment can be added on the basis of soil test results and recommendations. Otherwise, it will be a waste of money, time and may be detrimental to your garden soil. You can use either mineral or organic (blood meal, alfalfa) fertilizer. Compost is an excellent, complete and slow release fertilizer. If you are using chemical fertilizer, it should be used only the amounts recommended.

Weeding

Removal of weeds has the utmost importance because they can compete for nutrients, water, light and space. Regular weeding helps to keep weeds under control. All parts of the weed should be removed, including roots. If the soil is soft and slightly moist, you can pull weeds very easily.

Pest Problems

Gardens should be kept free from debris. Sanitation is a safe and effective method for controlling pest problems. You should clear out weeds because they attract pest critters. You can plant disease resistant varieties of plants. Disease problems can also be handled very effectively if you follow good gardening guidelines. You can encourage healthy plants if you rotate crops, and water regularly and deeply.

Deadheading, Trimming, Harvesting

Dead, dying, graying and brown leaves and plant parts should be removed. It is essential for preventing the spread of disease. If there are perennial and annual flowers in your garden, you should cut off dead flowers, which is known as deadheading. This process encourages continuous flowering throughout the season.

Pruning

Pruning is beneficial for removing diseased, damaged or dead branches. It can be done if you have small trees, vines or shrubs in your garden. However, you must use the right pruning tools to do this task. Improper cuts on vines, trees or shrubs can harm the plant.

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