A green thumb is a myth. The reality is you can garden and grow plants. Learn some of the best practices for your efforts to bear fruit.
Gardening is a nourishing hobby and growing necessity in times like these. Whether you are cultivating flowers, herbs, or vegetables, tending to them for food and leisure adds years to your life, as studies show.
Are your plants thriving? Do you intend to add new varieties this year? As you go deep into gardening, expect to find more questions coming your way. To make your efforts in working the soil count, here are some practical tips for plant care and garden management.
1. Check Your Zone
Where you live plays an integral role in your selection of plants. Will they thrive in your garden? The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map can help answer your question. It assigns a hardiness zone to a geographical area’s average annual minimum winter temperature.
Knowing this zone can make it easier for you to pick trees, shrubs, herbs, etc., that can survive or adapt to your location. Online resources, plant catalogs, and seed packets also use the USDA classification, which is a widely used standard.
Other classifications also exist. Sunset has a 24-climate-zone classification that takes into account the total climate, including rainfall and humidity. The Royal Horticultural Society has hardiness ratings for UK growers.
2. Know Where to Plant (Sun or Shade)
Plants need sunlight for photosynthesis, but they have varying sunlight requirements. Some enjoy the bright sunlight, while others grow in the shade.
Here’s a “classification” of plants based on their sunlight requirements:
- Full-sun plantsrequire six to eight hours of direct sunlight every day.
- Partial-sun or partial-shade plants require three to six hours of direct sunlight daily (e.g., partial-shade plants need to be in the shade in the afternoon).
- Full-shade plantsrequire three to four hours or less of direct sunlight every day.
Determine how much sun your garden gets so that you can position your plants where they’ll thrive based on the intensity of light. Observe the sunny or shaded spots, and put markers.
Also, some indoor plants still require total sun exposure even by the window. Examples are aloe vera and snake plants.
3. Water Right
Plants need water for their nutrition and growth. There are three main concerns facing gardeners when it comes to watering:
- How much water do plants need? Too little or too much water can hinder a plant’s growth and cause it to wilt, wither, or die.
- When is the best time to water plants?Early morning is said to be the most optimal time to water the garden. Doing the watering midday can result in rapid evaporation, and watering at night can increase the risk of plant disease. Early-evening watering may be necessary for hot and dry days.
- How do you effectively water plants?Focus on the plant’s root system. Also, distribute water evenly and efficiently through a combination of watering techniques.
Setting up an irrigation system for your garden can help avoid common watering problems and their consequences. With devices and automatic processes in place, you can control the amount of water, set a watering schedule (including the days and times), or adjust relevant settings based on the season or rainfall. Check out Hunter Pro-C controller and how it can help you stay on top of caring for your garden and save water and money.
4. Nourish Your Soil
Soil provides nutrition and more to plants. Its ability to hold water is also a critical factor in determining the most appropriate watering measures for your garden. For all these, improving your soil quality is a given.
Here are some ways you can amend your soil to promote plant growth:
- Perform a soil test to undertake suitable soil amendments.There are DIY soil tests for pH, composition, drainage, and (presence of) organic matter.
- Add organic matter, which can be sourced from compost and manure. Doing so boosts the soil’s water-retention ability and nutrition.
- Cover the soil with leaves, pine needles, or bark for soil moisture retention, weed control, and soil health. Using inorganic materials, like gravel and landscape fabric, can also help retain moisture and serve as a weed barrier.
Monitor your soil regularly because the health of your plants is closely anchored to it.
5. Let Plants Breathe
Air is an unseen but critical component for plants to grow. There are two ways you can help them breathe:
- Water effectively.Overwatering has the effect of depriving plants of oxygen.
- Aerate the soil. Mulching, as noted above, helps improve soil aeration.
Like people, plants also need room to thrive. Give your flowers and trees space to spread their roots and leaves. This is a practical consideration when you pot plants.
Are You Ready to Plant?
Together with your deck, a well-maintained garden enhances your home’s appeal. It’s especially lovely at night when the whole place is illuminated. You can consider cost-effective deck lighting solutions like solar post caps for this task.
You learn as you plant, experiment, and discover what works best. Consider the tips above, and garden on.