A healthy garden needs regular maintenance all through the growing season. The plants require nutrients, sun, and water to grow. As a gardener, you will only have to worry about water and nutrients if your garden gets plenty of sunshine which is inconsequential when compared to the many benefits you will gain.
General upkeep and disease/pest prevention will not take up too much of your time either. If you fail to take proper care of your garden, it will require more work to restore it to good health. Prevention is the hey. Here are some useful tips for taking care of your garden:
Mulch the Garden Bed
Use a 2-inch bed of wood chips or pine straw in your vegetable or flower garden. Just make sure that you use plastic mulch in your vegetable garden during the warm season. Mulch does the work of keeping moisture in your soil and preventing weeds from sprouting. You may even want to look into TinyHouseHugeIdeas.com
You need to provide the necessary amount of water for specific plants. Most flowers and vegetables need at least an inch of water from rainfall or irrigation per week. Check on the soil moisture at least twice per week and water your plants as soon as the top inch of soil starts to dry. You should go to Seed Needs to read up on different seeds and their water requirements.
You need to weed the bed frequently or as soon as you notice weeds breaching the layer of mulch. Quick weed removal prevents the harmful plants from taking root in your garden and stealing nutrients and moisture from your garden plants. Moreover, weeds are a haven of disease and pests.
Fertilize as Necessary
You need to fertilize your plants as necessary for the particular plant variety. However, you should not fertilize plants that are undergoing stressful conditions such as drought. When applying fertilizer, apply it about 6 inches from the base of the plants.
Doing so is necessary because fertilizer can burn leaves and roots when it comes into direct contact with them. After applying fertilizer, you need to water your garden to dilute the nutrients.
Check for Symptoms of Disease
Treat your plants quickly with the right pesticide such as fungicide for fungal diseases and insecticidal soap for aphids. You also need to destroy plants that have been infected badly to prevent spreading diseases to healthy plants.
Rotate Crops Yearly
To reduce the likelihood of disease and prevent taxing the soil nutrients, rotate your crops yearly. This means that if you grow kale and tomatoes this year, find something else to plant when you harvest them.
After-Harvest Garden Care
Your summer garden chores should not end once you pick the last tomato. You need to put your garden to bed in the fall if you want to get a jump during the next growing season.
Here are some tips on what you should do once you finish harvesting:
Test your soil – add amendments to your soil in the fall if you want to make sure nutrients are available during the next planting season for optimum growth.
Clean up debris – you need to pull up dead, unproductive plants then add them to your compost bin. If you ask any seasoned gardeners, they will tell you to remove cover crops and plant debris to enhance your soil.
Do not leave the soil bare – instead of leaving your soil exposed to the elements, consider covering it with shredded leaves or other types of mulch to avoid erosion. Although cover crops are the most common soil cover, shredded leaves provide a good alternative. When the planting season starts, these leaves will act as mulch.
You can also learn about Planting zones areas that will show you exactly which plants are best suited to thrive in your given area, or zone.