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Sacramento Boomer

10 Gardening Tips

Jun 04, 2019 12:25PM

The hardest part about being a rookie gardener is getting started. From what to plant and where, to prepping your soil and space, there are heaps of question marks. Thankfully, we scoured the region for local gardening experts who offered up some great advice.

1) BE A PICKY PLANTER

Before you buy any plant, ask the following questions: Will it survive in our climate? Will it have adequate sun/shade? What are the plant’s watering requirements? 

2) PUT TO THE TEST 

Get to know your soil. Testing for pH levels and soil texture will help you to determine which plants to plant, and which amendments to use. There's a whole culture of organisms in the soil that assist in plant health, too; use organics to keep that momentum going.

3) GRASS IS GREENER

Warm-season grasses need fertilization monthly from April through October, unless you’re using a slow-release fertilizer in which case spring and early fall applications are sufficient.  

4) CUT IT OUT

Trim dead flowers from blooming bulbs and leave foliage in place until dried so the plant can “recharge” itself for next year’s flowers.  

5) IRONCLAD

Add chelated iron to acid-loving plants like azaleas that show yellowing between leaf veins due to iron deficiency. 

6) KEEP THE CRITTERS AWAY

To avoid gophers and if you want vegetables, use raised beds with wire underneath, or pots.

7) OH DEER

Deer—we have them, even if you don’t see them. If you’re growing anything edible, fencing is the only way to really stop them. You can spend a lot of money on plants and other deer deterrents but start with a fence.

8) TIMING IS EVERYTHING

Plant warm-season vegetables and berries, like beets, peppers, corn, strawberries, and more, in spring. Position rows north to south to maximize sun exposure (at least six hours per day); use organics to amend and fertilize.

9) BABY STEPS

Start small with one garden bed. If it goes well, add another—too much all at once can be overwhelming.

10) FEED ME, SEYMOUR

Feed the soil and the plants take care of themselves. It really is the microflora in the soil that keeps plants healthy. Add organic fertilizers and organic matter (compost, leaves, etc.) to build up your soil for healthier plants.

By Sharon Penny

Thank you to our experts: Tami Kint of Green Acres Nursery & Supply; Melise Tug of Bushnell Gardens Nursery; Diane Dillard of Roseville Better Gardens Club; Shilo Nielsen of Front Yard Nursery; Tracy Celio, Master Gardener Program Coordinator, University of California Cooperative Extension Amador and El Dorado County; Kevin Marini, Home Hort and Composting Educator & Master Gardener Programs Manager, UCCE Placer and Nevada Counties; Juliet Voigtlander of El Dorado Nursery & Garden.