10 Gardening Tips
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.
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.