In our first article "Start a Garden in 10 Easy Steps", we explained you 5 of the steps that you should know in order to grow a decent garden. Now we should finish what we have started – read on and discover what else you should know:
- Choosing the plants of your dream garden – there are many people that browse the Internet or catalogues for months in order to find the perfect plants. On the other side, there are people who just go to the closest garden centre and buy what flatters them there without overthinking. Yet if you are a gardening amateur better opt for something, not that pretentious to begin with. If you want to plant perennials go for Black-eyed Susans, Lamb`s Ears, Russian Sage or Purple Coneflowers. The annuals that are easy to grow are Marigolds, Calendula, Cosmos and Sunflowers. If you are into growing a vegetable garden choose peppers, lettuce, cucumbers or tomatoes.
- Plant your chosen ones – this step is very important as you have to choose the time in accordance with the type of plants. For instance, if you are planting annuals or tomatoes be careful as they don`t like cold, so mid-spring or mid-autumn is a good time. There are some plants that can be easily grown from seed. Sunflowers or lettuce can be directly sowed in the soil. Of course, don`t forget to read the labels and instructions so you know the right depth of planting and what room you should leave between each other so when they grow they are not on their way. You can always plant seeds in containers and use your windowsill as an improvised little garden for seedlings. If you are not sure you will succeed in growing a plant from seeds you can buy young plants – all you have to do is to dig a hole and plunk them in there.
- Water your plants – you need to be hydrated and the same goes for your green friends. Never let your seedlings dry out – watering them on a daily basis until their roots are established is crucial. Once they are strong enough the frequency of watering after that depends on the type of soil and the humidity of the climate you are living. An important thing to remember is that in order to minimise the evaporation in the hot days, you should water your plants early in the morning. If you need any help you can always rely on professional gardening services in your area for a peace of mind!
- Choose the right mulch for your garden – when you are picking mulch you should know that when it is organic it will inevitably come with advantages and disadvantages. There are types of mulches that are toxic to dogs so if you are a pet-owner be careful when choosing – an example are the cocoa hulls. Picking bark nuggets is a good choice but you should know that they float in heavy rainfall. Shredded wood or bark is the most common mulch as it is easy to use and comes at low prices but it doesn`t add the essential nutrients to the soil as the other options on the market. If you don`t want to buy mulch you can choose the waste from your backyard – compost, leaves and grass clippings. Using compost is recommended but it doesn`t deter weeds well. If you use your homemade compost you can end up with more weeds than you actually had so you should be cautious. If you shred leaves before you use them they will make an excellent mulch. If you choose to use grass clippings make sure the grass has not been treated with pesticide – don`t pile the clippings too deeply because they can easily become soggy.
- Maintain your garden – keep it up! Once you have done all of the aforementioned points, you should now pull weeds, keep watering and do these all essential small tasks to keep your garden flourishing. Don`t forget to use organic fertilisers! They come from animals, plants or minerals. Some of them contain large amounts of a single major nutrient as it is in bone meal with phosphorus but they have other beneficial nutrients too. There is a general rule when you are using organic fertilisers – in the first year they release half of their nutrients and continue to release through the subsequent years. Let`s talk about animal-based ones – they provide a lot of nitrogen which is vital for the leafy growth of plants. The most commonly available are definitely manures – they provide a lot of organic matter but they are poor in nutrient value. You should know that chicken manure contains nitrogen but you should use it composted as if it is fresh it will burn any tender roots. Plant-based fertilisers contain low to moderate potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus but they contain micronutrients that are also important. Corn gluten meal, for instance, has 10% nitrogen but the important thing is to remember that you should apply it to active plants as it`s not good for the seeds. If you have a lawn you are recommended to use it as it prevents weed seeds from sprouting.