Gardens of all types can make your yard look beautiful, but they may get messy or overgrown if you don’t properly maintain them. Every kind of garden has different requirements and growing needs, so make sure you use the proper equipment and materials for them. Proper garden care can increase the quality and longevity of your plants, fruits, and veggies.
1. Get rid of the weeds
Weeds are garden killers. They can suffocate the roots of your healthy plants, harbor pests, and become an unsightly nuisance. Weeds take up space and resources that your plants could be using, so weeding your garden can keep it healthy and growing. The best way to prevent weeds from spreading throughout your garden is to stop them before they take root.
You could use hay, grass cuts, or wood chips, among others, as mulch. Cover the ground with this or with other covers, such as newspaper clippings. Then, this can prevent sunlight from passing through the weeds for its nutrition. Mulch is applied to the soil surface for protection or improvement of the area covered.
2. Take care of your soil
Soil degrades over time and needs to be refreshed every so often. You can buy new soil from a local garden center, so make sure to check the quality of your garden soil and replace it when necessary. Adding mulch is also useful for retaining the soil moisture of your garden. Mulching material will keep weeds down while also supplying organic matter to your soil when it begins to degrade. Fertilizing your garden is another method to keeping it healthy. Depending on the type of plant species you’re growing, use the right amount of fertilizer and apply it appropriately to make sure you don’t overstress your plants.
3. Keep an eye on bugs and pests
Insect damage to plants is much more than cosmetic. Viruses and bacteria often can only enter a plant through some sort of opening, and bug damage provides that. Some insects actually act as a transport for viruses, spreading them from one plant to the next. Aphids are one of the most common carriers, and thrips spread impatiens necrotic spot virus, which has become a serious problem for commercial producers over the past 10 years. Aster yellows is a disease carried by leafhoppers and has a huge range of host plants. Insect attacks are another way to put a plant under stress, rendering it less likely to fend off disease.
4. Water properly
Overwatering can lead to fungi growth, leaf spots, and unhealthy plants. Only water as often as necessary during the growing season for your specific plant species, and let the soil dry between watering to keep from oversaturating. The trick is to keep your garden well-watered but not soaking and avoid wetting the foliage. Water directly onto the soil instead. This is easy to do when watering by hand, but if you want to automate things, opt for a drip irrigation system rather than sprinklers.
5. Check and examine your plants carefully before buying
It is a good idea to collect a few books, magazines, and catalogs that show what a healthy specimen looks like. Don’t take home a plant with dead spots, rotted stems, or insects. These problems can easily spread to your healthy plants and are sometimes hard to get rid of once established.
In addition to checking the tops of plants, always inspect the root quality. One does not often see customers doing this in a garden center, but it should be a common sight. Place your hand on the soil surface with the plant stem between your fingers. Gently invert the pot and shake the plant loose. You may have to tap the edge of the pot against a solid surface to loosen the roots from the pot. Roots should be firm, usually white, and spaced all over the root ball. Dark or mushy roots are not a good sign. Even when the tops appear healthy, it’s just a matter of time before a rotted root system kills a plant.
6. Choose the right fertilizer
You need to take care when fertilizing plants since too much of any fertilizer can burn roots, reducing their ability to absorb water. This, in turn, makes the plants more susceptible to stress from drought, cold, and heat. Plants starved for nutrients are smaller and can be badly affected by leaf spots, while a stronger plant can fight off diseases. An overabundance of a particular nutrient is another way to put stress on a plant.
7. Companion plant
Companion planting, or intercropping, is when you plant a variety of different crops together to increase productivity provide pollinators, ward off pests, and control the habitat for beneficial insects. Intercropping is a great way to keep your garden and flower beds thriving by surrounding them with the right plants that will enable their successful growth.