How To Grow A Great Garden

Gardens do not just happen spontaneously. Here are some tips to help you plan a flower or vegetable bed and reap benefits in due season.

You may enjoy gardening because it gets you outdoors away from demanding desk work, dirty dishes, or arguing children. Or it might be your way of escaping to nature's fresh air and sunshine.

Another reason to grow a garden is for the beauty and services it provides. Lovely blooms, green shrubs, and healthy vegetables accent our lives with aesthetic and nutritional value. Whatever your motivation, a successful garden makes for a worthwhile hobby. Here are a few tips for making the most of your garden plot.

1. Do the preliminary work. Some folks get in a hurry and become careless when starting a garden. They dig a quick hole, throw in some seeds, and hope for the best. But for lasting results you have to start early and lay a solid foundation. Clean out last year's beds in early spring, or measure off new ones and cultivate the soil in preparation for planting. Choose flowers, vegetables, or greenery that will flourish in your soil and climate conditions.



2. Make needed adjustments or preparations. Don't despair if your property sits on rocky or sandy soil. You can pay a contractor to remove large quantities of stones or you can tackle this chore yourself, possibly with help from the kids. Buy a truckload or two of topsoil to cover the sandy areas enough to enable planting. Do the same for clay or other infertile types of earth that may not be ready to nurture plant life.

3. Protect young seedlings and plants. After putting in your seeds or plants, put up a protective fence or barrier to keep out worrisome pests like dogs or raccoons. You may want to create a scarecrow to keep pesky creatures at bay. Consider using an all-natural or non-toxic pest repellent for beetles or other insects, as well as fungi, that threaten to damage or destroy your plants.

4. Ask a local greenhouse or nursery associate if fertilizer will help your plants grow more effectively. Certain fertilizers do not help as much as others, and in some cases, are unneeded altogether. Check about watering conditions as well, since too much moisture can be worse than too little in some circumstances.

5. Keep up with the weeding. Check your garden beds every couple of days and remove unwanted weeds before they take firm root and spread. Use a hoe to break up rooted invaders. Remove dying blossoms to make way for new ones. As plants spread, you may need to thin and space them out.

6. Plant your flowers or vegetables in an attractive or meaningful arrangement. Set higher blooms in the back of the plot, with shorter blossoms in front for visibility. Plant smaller vegetable plants, like bean hills, on the perimeter of the garden, with taller plants, like corn, in the center. Be careful not to mix plants or place them too closely together, which can lead to cross-pollination and mutant hybrids.

Your garden will become a source of nurture for your family and your soul when you take time to carefully plan and tend it all season long.

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