by MADDY HEESZEL
This photo was taken by MADDY HEESZEL.
Now that springtime is here, the weather is perfect for growing plants and flowers. Growing and maintaining a garden may seem like a difficult task, but it can be quite easy if you know what you are doing. While growing is easy, and is common sense for the most part, there are still many things some people do not know when gardening. Here are some quick and helpful tips on how to grow a successful garden:
1. Take the time to read the instructions on the seed packet.
If you are growing plants or flowers from seeds, it is important that you read the instructions on the seed packets. Many people like to skip the reading and jump right into the gardening, but that is not always the best way to go. Be sure you are aware of how large your plants may get, how far to space them away from each other, how much light or shade they may need, and any other important needs they may have.
2. Don’t over or under water.
Most plants and flowers need to be watered daily, sometimes multiples times a day if the weather is really hot or humid. Unless you are growing a cactus or succulent, which only need to be watered once every few weeks or months, then your plants will most likely need to be watered on a daily basis. The best way to know if your plant needs water is if the soil near it is light brown. Keep your soil dark and moist, but do not flood out the plant. If there is extra water near the plant that the soil is not absorbing, you are probably over watering. Another way to know if your plant is being overwatered is by looking at the color of the soil and the plant’s leaves. The soil will turn green, and the plant’s leaves will start to fade in color if it receives too much water. If that is the case, simply cut back on watering.
3. Give your plants plenty of space.
Some people start planting their plants in pots or containers rather than in the ground. If you plan on doing that, you will need to transfer your plants into a bigger container or in the ground if they get too big. You want the plant to have enough room to grow and not crowd in the small space you put it in. Unless your plants or flowers stay pretty small, transferring them is important. Plants are really good at indicating space. If you give them little room to grow, they may stop growing as big as they should. If you give them a lot of space, they will spread out more. It all depends on how big you are allowing your plants to grow, but either way, they will adapt quite easily.
4. Keep your plants away from pests.
One of the biggest annoyances while planting is dealing with pests. Pests such as gophers, snails, squirrels, and even your own pets can damage your plants. When dealing with rodents or insects, utilize any insect-killers, rat traps, or any other tools to get rid of them. If you are growing tomato plants, planting marigolds around your tomatoes will prevent snails. If your pets at home are stepping on, eating, or digging up your plants, be sure to set up a barrier – either by placing a fence or wall around your plants or by placing your plants in an area where your pets cannot reach them. Do some research on how to prevent pests from encountering your plants. There are thousands of different pests out there, and it is always best to know what kind of pest is harming your plants and how to prevent them. Different plants may attract different pests, especially if the plant produces any fruits or vegetables.
5. Keep your soil healthy.
Fertile soil is the key to a successful garden. Almost any type of soil can become fertile, if not already, if you take the proper steps to do so. Use a shovel or rake to mix up the soil you are using, either from the ground or from a bag. Add water, and continue mixing and adding more water until the soil becomes a dark brown color. Do not allow the soil to become muddy or watery. Once you take these steps, the soil should be perfect for growing in. Never grow plants in an area where the soil is rough and dry unless you do the steps above. One of the best bagged soils to use is Miracle-Gro. Miracle-Gro can be found in bags as small as eight quarts and as big as two cubic feet. Even bagged soil should be mixed and watered before placing into any pots or containers for planting.
6. Be patient.
Some plants and flowers grow and bloom fairly quickly, but others may take a lot longer. Flowers such as pansies and marigolds are very delicate and may shrivel up and die even after a successful sprout. Plants of that sort are very needy and hard to maintain. Some of the best and easiest flowers to grow are cosmos, zinnias, and dahlias. These plants can handle heat pretty well and sprout fairly quickly. Some plants will even begin to sprout after just a few days if taken care of properly. Never expect your plants to be full grown or filled with fruit, vegetables, or flowers in just a few weeks; it takes months or even years, depending on how large the plant is supposed to be, for a plant to be full grown.
With these tips, you will be able to grow a wonderful garden this spring. Growing plants is quite easy, and you don’t even need a “green-thumb” to do it. Making sure your plants are taken care of should be your top priority when maintaining a healthy garden. Be sure to make use of any other information regarding your plants in order to provide them with the proper needs. Have fun growing your garden!