Gardening, while a great hobby and a sure fire way to save money on food, can be completely intimidating to some. It can be a lot to bite off and chew! Lucky for you, I’ve assembled an awesome list of must-know tips for beginning (and amateur!) gardeners!
Learn Your Growing Season. Learn the length of your growing season. Determine when the first frost in the fall and last frost of the spring occur. When you are aware of the growth season, you can begin growing your sprouts inside-if need be.
Vegetables Need A Lot of Sun. No, really. They do! When planting veggies, pick an area of your yard and garden that gets at least 8 hours of sun daily. Many vegetables (other than Spinach, radishes, and cabbage) need full sun to grow well.
Fertilizer Doesn’t Make The Soil. Contrary to what many many believe, fertilizer isn’t the way to growing the best plants. The quality of the soil is much more important. Enrich your soil quality with things like compost and aged manure. Ideally, your soil should be easy to dig, and and offers an acceptable of air to the plant roots.
Control Weeds. Control weeds by hand weeding, and hoeing your garden. Be careful not to hoe too deep, as this may bring weed seeds to the surface. Before the plants begin sprouting, make an effort to weed early (and often!) so the weeds aren’t able to sprout.
Water Accordingly. Many garden plants only require about 1 to 2 inches of water per week. If the rain water isn’t adequate, it is better to water the plants once weekly or every other day. If your plants leaves begin to turn yellow, this could be a sign of over-watering.
Don’t Rake. Save the hours of work required to rake up the leaves! Chop them up and leave them on the soil as a form of compost. Chopped leaves can be left on the lawn as as a form of winter nourishment as well.
Avoid Wet Soil. This sounds like the ideal situation to plant in, but digging and planting in wet soil can actually be detrimental to the soil structure. It is best to plant, and work the soil when it is slightly damp and crumbles in your hand.
Plant Transplant. When transplanting plants that previously grew in a container, it is important to dig a hole larger than the “soil ball”of the plant. This helps the roots establish and grow strong.
Tomatoes are Tricky. Really tricky. When it comes time for the tomatoes to ripen, the temperature must be between 68-77 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the temperature reaches 85 degrees, it is too hot for the plant to produce the necessary chemicals that give the plant the red color. Once the temperature drops below 50 degrees, green tomatoes will not ripen. Luckily, in most cases, tomatoes can be brought inside to ripen fully.
Compost. Only apply compost that is six months old to your soil. If applied earlier, fresh manure may burn the plants, and may contain pesticides or parasites. It is never a good idea to use manure from pigs, dogs, or cats in your compost pile.