When done well, gardening can be a very rewarding activity. Nothing beats the flavor of a tomato you’ve grown yourself, or the scent of your own flowers. Whether you’re just starting out as a gardener or you’ve been growing things your whole life, there’s always something new to learn. Here are a few tips any gardener can use.
Selecting bulbs. Most bulbs are sold during their dormant period. Buy them as early as possible before they start to produce roots. Most spring flowering bulbs will begin to grow roots by early fall, and by planting them early, you will ensure that they have time to establish themselves. Bulbs will deteriorate if kept out of the ground too long. Don’t buy any bulb that is soft or mushy, or appears to be diseased.
Are you wondering if you need to water your lawn? One good way to tell is to simply walk across it. If you can see your footprints, you have a thirsty yard. Every week, your lawn should be receiving up to one inch of water. If you live in an area where it doesn’t rain frequently, make sure to give your lawn the “footprint test” whenever you’re not sure if it’s had enough to drink.
Try and start your gardens as early as possible and keep them as late as possible to maximize the amount of crops you’re able to produce. You can use things like cloches, cold frames, and tunnels to start gardening a month or more in advance. You can also use row covers in the fall to extend your harvest season.
Create a convenient cleaning station next to your outside faucet or garden hose. Collect all of your old soap slivers from around the house (or simply use a whole bar) and place in a plastic mesh bag. You can often find these bags in the produce department of your favorite store for storing vegetables in the refrigerator, or in the laundry department for delicates. Hang the bag near your hose, and the mesh works as a scrubber as well as containing the soap for an easy hand washing station.
When choosing plants for your garden, pick plants that are native to your geographic region. Plants native to your region will naturally do well in your garden because they are already adjusted to your climate. When you plant native plants, you will not be surprised by any unexpected results when your plants mature.
Try using a natural weed killer that does not contain harsh chemicals. Spray weeds with full strength white vinegar to kill them, and reapply as necessary if you see any new growth. Vinegar can also kill plants that you want to keep, so make sure not to spray it on weeds that are growing in the middle of other plants you do not want to kill.
As with any pastime, your gardening will benefit if you continually educate yourself. No matter what your skill level is, you can always learn something new that will make you a better gardener. Put some of these ideas to work, and soon your garden will flourish more than it ever has.