Whether you have a vegetable garden or a flower garden, simply putting the plants in the ground will not ensure a healthy garden. Gardens are never finished; they need to be cared for throughout the season with regular watering, weeding and fertilizing. Caring for your garden can be a pleasant pastime on warm spring and summer days, and the beauty of the flowers and the bounty of the crops provide you with a tangible reward.
Items you will need
- Soaker hose
- Spray bottle
Lay down a layer of compost before you scatter your seeds or place your transplants in the ground. The roots of most plants grow only about 6 inches underground, so laying down a layer any thicker than that is a waste of time and money.
Have your soil tested at your local Cooperative Extension Office. A soil test will provide you with lime and fertilizer recommendations based on the amount of nutrients and lime that are already present in your soil.
Follow the directions on your fertilizer carefully. Too much can burn the plants or cause the leaves to grow dramatically while the flowers or fruits barely grow at all.
Place mulch on top of the soil to inhibit weed growth. Mulch will also add nutrients to your soil as it decomposes.
Water plants frequently and thoroughly during the first few weeks after planting. Watering frequently but lightly keeps the roots from going deep into the ground and the shallow root system makes them more susceptible to dry spells. The best time to water plants is during the morning so the water can soak into the ground before the sun has a chance to evaporate the water.
Avoid watering in the evening. Though the air is cooler and the sun is down, cool and wet leaf surfaces are more prone to disease.
Use a soaker hose if possible. They deliver water slowly and penetrate the soil thoroughly while feeding the root systems.
Check often for weeds. They will inhibit the growth of your plants. Once they have gotten out of control and are rampant among your plants, it is a much more difficult and backbreaking job. In addition, the younger the weed, the shallower the root system and the less dirt that will be disturbed in your garden.
Pull weeds out, ensuring you get as much of the root system as possible. You can also spot spray weeds with a commercial weed remover or household vinegar to eradicate them.
Mow around the outer edge of your garden. This helps prevent the spread of grass and weeds into the garden area.
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