Getting a garden in the ground is one thing, but maintaining it is another. For this reason, every gardener, even the most experienced ones need some tips and tricks that will help them to maintain their gardens easier. Here are some of the best garden practices to help you increase your chances for a successful garden!
Give your plants some space
If you give some space to your seedlings you will encourage larger and healthier plants. However, don’t live too much room between your plants. Take a look into your plants’ typical sizes at maturity and space well.
Water when needed
The best way to water is to check your soil and water when the top 2-3 inches are dry. The morning is the best time to water deeply. Be aware of your plants’ needs. If your tomatoes go from dry to wet and back again they will get stressed out and you won’t get good fruit. You can also use a rain gauge to keep track of weather patterns. You should water directly around the plant’t root zone to minimize evaporation.
To feed your soil it is best to apply 2-3 inch layer of fresh, organic compost at the time of planting and mix with the top few inches of the soil. Do this every year to start vuilding your soil naturally. Mulching with compost is also helpful. For heavy feeders, like broccoli, spinach, and Brussel sprouts, try compost tea or organic fertilizer every 2 weeks.
- Here’s a natural solution:
4 parts seed meal
1/4 part ordinary agricultural lime, best finely ground
1/2 part agricultural lime (or 1/4 part gypsum)
1/2 part dolomitic lime
- For best results add:
1 part bone meal or rock phosphate
1/2 to 1 part kelp meal (or 1 part basalt dust)
Mulch helps in retaining moisture, regulating soil temperature, reducing weeds, and if using an organic mulch, it adds organic matter to the soil. The best time to mulch is when seedlings are a few inches tall, adding anywhere from 2 -6 inches of material. Save your grass clippings and pine needles, as both make great organic mulches.
Keep it clean
Pruning allows for better airflow and it also allows for plants to put more energy into the desired areas, whether that means flowers, fruits, roots, or leaves. Raspberries and tomatoes are great examples of plants that benefit from pruning.It is also very important to clean any dead, infected, or insect-infested plant material out of your garden. Also, destroy any infected plant material.
Keep it moving
Put your plants on a crop rotation schedule based on plant family. This is a very good practice as most plants that are related, like tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and potatoes, often have similar nutrient needs and are the hosts to similar pests. Therefore, by planting them in the same spot year after year depletes soil nutrients faster and encourages pests and diseases to stick around.
Weeds will pop up at some time even if you take the best care of your garden. The key is to keep up on weeding. Whenever you stroll past your garden, pick a weed or two. When weeds get out of control they steal nutrients from the soil and harbor additional pests and diseases.