By APC Admin |
careful with soil

Ever felt frustrated because you can’t seem to figure out how to keep your garden thriving? Well, don’t lose hope just yet. You can still have your dream garden because we have prepared a collection of gardening advice that will help your garden flourish. Feel as if you were born with a green thumb by doing these simple tricks.

Be Careful with Soil Selection

Your garden’s soil is the ultimate foundation on which your plants can grow big and healthy. Unfortunately, there are different types of soil available out there, and you need to determine which is ideal for growing the plants that you want. Most plants prefer a well-draining soil that is filled with an abundance of nutrients in order to thrive.

Understanding Clay Soil

Clay soil is a heavy type of soil that is quite sticky and compact. It is rich in nutrients, and it retains moisture better than any other kind of soil. However, it is not the most optimal soil to use for your garden.

If you want to know if what you have on your garden is clay soil, perform a simple ‘squeeze test’. If the soil holds its shape when squeezed and sits stubbornly on your hand, this means you have clay soil.

If your garden lies on a ground of clay soil, you should choose plants that can handle the extreme sogginess and dry-cracked earth that clay soil brings, or you can amend your soil by simply adding in a ton of organic matter to improve it.

Have Your Soil Tested

Wondering why it is that no matter how much effort you put in, your plants still can’t seem to achieve that lushness you expect from them? Then your soil’s health might not be doing well due to lack of nutrients or an unbalanced PH level.

Learn How To Test Your Soil

Worms are a great indication of the overall health of your soil. The more you have, the healthier your soil is. Dig a hole about one foot across and one foot deep in a soil spot that is a little moist. Then sift through the soil, and if you find at least ten worms, your soil is in pretty good shape. Anything less than that means you have to step up and condition your soil.

How To Correct your Soil’s PH Levels

Plants grow best in soil with a neutral pH. You can purchase a pH test kit from your local garden centre to check whether your soil’s pH level is at the right scale. If the pH level is off, you can try adding lime to raise the alkalinity, or sulphur to lower its acidity. Be sure to introduce these elements gradually so your plants won’t go into shock.

Learn How To Water Your Plants The Right Way

We all know that just like us, plants need water to survive. But did you know that there are good and bad ways of watering your plants?

Avoid Wetting The Plant’s Leaves

Not only is wetting the leaves a waste of water, but you are also promoting a breeding ground for fungus and other diseases to thrive. Conserve water by watering directly down at the roots where access to water is really needed.

Under Watering Is A Little Better Than Overwatering Your Plants

If you have to choose between being a little thirsty versus being drowned in water, naturally, you’d prefer the former. So, when watering your plant, you should not just watch how much water you’re giving but also consider if your soil is able to retain water. If it does, you will need to water a little less or vice versa.

As a side note, watering in the early morning or at night is more preferable because this way you'll avoid evaporation due to the heat from the sun and your plants can fully absorb the water even if they are under-watered.

Water All The Way Down To Reach The Roots

Not many people know that water should be able to reach down to the roots of the plant. Otherwise, your plant will not be able to survive. Most people tend to water the topmost part of the soil and think that is enough. But a good gardener knows that water is needed at the roots for the plant to get the sustenance it needs.

Companion Planting Helps Your Garden

Maximise your garden by bringing different plants together. Plants that are planted with the right neighbour can benefit from one another. Some plants are good at repelling insects, thus protecting the other plants around it from being attacked by pests. While other plants emit chemicals from their roots which can act as growth stimulants for the other plants.

Learn How To Keep Pests Under Control

Pests are a menace in the garden. They are capable of instantly bringing down all your hard work and ruin your beautiful garden.

Keep Safe And Get Rid Of Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes must be rid of as they can transmit deadly diseases that would harm your health. You should be able to take your time in the garden and not worry about being bitten by mosquitoes. Keep your garden clean and eliminate their breeding source, mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. You can also drive them away by planting Lavender, Marigold, Citronella, or Wormwood as mosquitoes cannot tolerate the scent that they emit.

Repel Insects

Protect your plants from being attacked by pests. Strategically plant Garlic, Onions, Chives & Chrysanthemums around your garden to keep harmful pests at bay.

Determine The Culprit And Take Action

Not all insects are harmful to your garden. Some are actually beneficial to your plants. Learn which ones are in your garden by observing the signs and trails left, and from there, you can take the necessary action.

Some signs to look out for are squiggly lines on a plant's leaves, this means you probably have leaf miners. The best treatment is either by spraying some pesticide or by rubbing neem oil on the affected leaf.

If you notice little bumps along the stems of plants, you probably have scale insects. When dealing with these pests, time is of the essence; otherwise, it will be hard to get rid of them.

How To Avoid Using Chemicals To Get Rid Of Pests

Fortunately, you can avoid chemicals if you opt to use organic pesticides instead. They are less toxic but they are still capable of getting the job done. Just be sure to use them wisely and always read the precautions on the label.

  • Insecticidal Soap - One of the safest pesticides to use for your vegetable harvest, and safe for humans and animals alike.
  • Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) - This is highly toxic to pests but will not harm people, pets, birds or bees.
  • Neem - Most effective on immature insects and species that undergo complete metamorphosis.
  • Pyrethrins - A quick-acting poison for all kinds of insects. It should only be used when necessary as it will also kill even the good insects.
  • Potassium Bicarbonate - Effective as a preventative measure for fungal infection. Also great in inhibiting further fungal growth in its early stages.

Earthworms Are Your Friends

Earthworms are microorganisms that are capable of releasing nutrients into the soil. They also aerate the soil as they move, thereby helping air and water run from the surface to the root zone which will eventually keep your soil and plants healthy.

Worm Composting

Worm composting is a method of making your own nutrient-rich compost by feeding your kitchen waste and small amounts of garden waste to worms. The materials include, but are not limited to, residual raw or cooked vegetables, used tea bags, eggshells, coffee grounds, garden weeds, dried leaves and even pieces of paper and cardboard.

Avoid Transplanting On A Sunny Day

Transplanting is the act of moving your plant to a better place when the time is right. Transplanting is a delicate task. One must remember to never leave the roots exposed to the sun, or the roots will desiccate quickly. Transplanting on a sunny day is a recipe for disaster. Be sure to do it in the early morning or in the evening instead.

How To Transplant Your Vegetables

Step 1: Have the right tools at hand and dig a hole on the spot where you plan to place your plant.

Step 2: Water the hole to keep it moist. This ensures that your plant will be well hydrated after being transplanted.

Step 3: Remove the plant or seedling from its container and be extra careful not to damage the roots. Keep your spade in an upright position to lessen the risk of you hitting the roots.

Step 4: Place your plant in the hole and fill it with soil. Be sure that the soil around it is neither too firm nor too loose.

Step 5: Soak the soil with water after transplanting, then add mulch to reduce soil moisture. Continue to water well for a couple of days to keep your plant healthy.

Treat Different Plants With Different Care

It is important that you get to know your plants because different plants require different kinds of care. Some plants need to be watered a lot, while some just need a sufficient amount. Some plants require full exposure to the sun while some don’t.

Learn How To Grow The Plant You Want

  • Herbs - Herbs are aromatic plants with a ton of benefits - they can be used as a homemade remedy for medicinal or beautifying purposes, or they can be used to amp up the flavour of your cooking.

Besides being packed with goodness, herbs do not consume a lot of space, they can grow indoors or outdoors for as long as you provide them with plenty of sunlight and the right kind of soil - preferably the type that drains well.

  • Vegetables - Vegetables are nutrient-filled plants that help keep you healthy so you can enjoy life fully. Most vegetables can also be regrown, giving you a never-ending supply of produce.

Find a location to grow the vegetables where they can get a good amount of sunlight. Fill soil with a lot of compost and organic matter and be sure to water sufficiently. Also, have patience and be sure to keep pests at bay by using organic pesticides when needed.

  • Fruits - Fruits are delicious snacks that are good for the health. But more often than not, fruits can be quite tricky to grow. Some only grow by season and some take a long time to bear fruits. The technique is to fertilise the soil, encourage pollination, and prune when needed.

Once your plant starts to bear fruits, you need to harvest everything. Otherwise, this will send a signal to your plant that it made too much and will then lessen its fruit on the next bearing season.

  • Flowers - Flowers have the ability to uplift one’s mood for they give life and colour to your garden. When choosing the type of flower to plant, you need to consider what kind of environment you can provide. Most flowers cannot tolerate growing in an environment that is not suitable for them.

Pruning Is Beneficial To Plants

Pruning keeps your plant healthy by encouraging new growth and renewal. When your plant is infected with a disease, pruning is also needed to prevent the disease from spreading and harming the rest of your plant.

Learn How And When To Prune

Pruning at the right time will reap a ton of benefits but pruning at the wrong time may sometimes be fatal. Pruning times depend on the type of plant and the season. Usually, it is best to prune summer and fall flowering trees in the late winter. Pruning spring-flowering trees is best done in the late spring.

When removing branches, it is best to cut close to the trunk or limb. Use the right tools to get a clean cut and faster healing time. You should also remove branches that cross and rub against each other to prevent diseases.

Learn How To Make A Compost

One of the best things you can do to enhance the health of your garden is to learn how to make your own compost. Composting is cheap and easy to do. Incorporating compost into your garden will guarantee that your soil is enriched with nutrients, retains moisture, and suppresses plant diseases and pests.

Learn How To Make Your Own Compost below.

Make Use Of Coffee Grounds

Surprisingly, coffee grounds can increase your soil's mineral content thereby enriching and fertilising it. Just add them to your compost and you’re done. Also, note that it is best to utilise used coffee grounds so as not to affect the pH level of your garden’s soil. Check with your local coffee shop and see whether they can give their used coffee grounds for free.

Get The Right Garden Tools

A beautiful garden is the result of hard work and lots of care. Get things done easier with the right tools. If you are a beginner, be sure to have the following essentials.

  • Gardening Gloves
    It's good that you love your garden but be sure to give your hands some love, too. Protect your hands when gardening by using a good pair of gardening gloves to prevent injuries.
  • Spade
    A spade is a handy tool for digging, moving soil, and transplanting plants easily.
  • Pruning Shears
    Keep your plants healthy and neat by using pruning shears. They work almost like scissors except their blades are a little tougher and they are made to retract after every cut for easier pruning.
  • Hand Weeder
    This is a great tool because its thin, sharp blade will help you remove weeds without disturbing the surrounding area too much.

Remember Details About Your Garden

Your observation skills will be tested when you have a garden. You need to have a good eye for detail in order to spot the first signs of a plant disease, or a pest infestation. You need to observe if your plants are adapting to their surroundings and if your methods are working out.

Keep A Garden Notebook And Calendar

Take note of the important details that happen in your garden. Make sure to keep a garden calendar so that you can plant at the right time of year and you’ll know when to expect a harvest.

Make It Fun With A Scrapbook

Gather important information about your plants and make a scrapbook. Get easy access to how you can properly care for each of your plants. Get the details you need with just a flip of a page.

Lastly, Have Fun And Don’t Stress Out

Having a garden can be quite tedious and requires a lot of patience, observations and trial and error to drive success. But always remember that all kinds of hard work pay off. You just need to find your groove and don’t be afraid to ask for some guidance from the experts.

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