Whether you consider yourself equipped with a green thumb or a black thumb, there are some basic gardening tips to keep in mind. What does gardening and the holiday season have in common? Quite a bit—you can garden year-round depending on where you live and your penchant (or not) for indoor potted plants. Some plants thrive in the colder months, while for others this is prime time for planting and winterization.
No matter what kind of garden you have planned, keep these gardening hacks in mind to make the most of your bounty:
1. Test and (maybe) fertilize your soil
The odds of your soil being perfectly attuned to the needs of your plant are slim to none unless you are using garden soil plus. That’s like hoping your diet perfectly gives your body all the minerals and nutrients it needs without a supplement. Test your soil every year for deficiencies, and add fertilizer if necessary.
2. Choose local plants
Simply put, it’s easier to make a plant thrive in your garden if it’s already local and native to the area, a local compost helps too. It’s not very easy to encourage a palm tree to grow in Alaska. Plus, if you’re a veggie or herb grower, this can also help you eat seasonally in a serious farm to table type of environment.
3. Follow the plant’s instructions
This one should be a no-brainer, right? However, make sure you brush up on the recommended amount of watering, shade, and sunlight your plant needs. Even if you’ve been caring for a specific breed of roses for years, it doesn’t hurt to make sure you’re still following the “owner’s manual.”
4. Prune and deadhead…correctly
There’s an art to pruning and deadheading, and every plant has different specifications. However, general rules of thumb include not removing more than one-third of a plant’s branches, making angled cuts when the leaves aren’t present (for deciduous plants), and trimming more often if the tree/plant is younger.
5. Practice natural pest control when possible
There are many ways to battle pests and insects without using harmful chemicals. Do your research on the best plan of action depending on the pest in question. For example, coffee growers in Costa Rica use a makeshift solution with a cup filled 25 percent with a sweet rum. It attracts insects, drowning them (happily) since the rum is more appealing than the coffee plants.
6. Only take on as much as you can handle
The health of your garden depends on the answer to this one question: How much time can you, and want to, dedicate to it? A neglected garden isn’t going to thrive no matter how sturdy the plants are. If you’re a newbie, start out with potted herbs and see just how invested you really are (it’s much easier to expand than cut back).
7. Plant at the right time
There’s a plant for nearly any time of the year. If you’re a serious gardener who wants to work on your green thumb year-round, seek out plants in your region that require care, planting, or pruning through every season.
8. Spacing is everything
For many plants and trees, the root system is much larger than what you see above ground. Make sure you properly space your plants and trees. With veggie gardening, spacing is crucial to optimize the size and growth speed of each plant.
Whether you dream of making your own holiday wreath from your own plants in a few years or you’re already plotting your summer bounty, ‘tis the season to reflect on your best gardening practices. Contact The Dirt Bag today to chat about the best plants for your future harvests.