Gardening for the first time can seem a little daunting, but it’s both exciting and rewarding to grow something on your own! The satisfaction stemming from helping something grow is worth the time and effort needed to start your plants. When you’re a new gardener, though, it’s important to consider factors other than temperature and pest control. A lot of different factors go into whether or not your plant fully grows and produces what you want from it! Here are a few tips and tricks to get you started with your garden:
1. Know what to plant and when.
Planting dates can vary by location. Make sure you know that before you start planting seeds for a vegetable that grows better somewhere else – or even worse, won’t grow at all in your area! Check out resources, such as the Farmers’ Almanac, that will help you list out what will grow best in your area. To be even more certain of planting dates, view the US Department of Agriculture’s plant hardiness map that shows specific info for each location. Be cognisant of the season in which you are planting, and don’t get frustrated if you don’t get enough produce this season – there is always next season!
2. Be careful with soil depth.
Having an appropriate soil depth is crucial to the health of your plants, their longevity, and success. Soil that is too shallow will not provide roots room to grow. On the other hand, very deep soil is not always necessary if other favorable factors are at play. Pay attention to other factors and the context of your garden. Soil depth determines nutrient availability and moisture storage, so if you’re not sure how much soil you need for a certain plant, consult one of our garden professionals at your local Big R Store!
3. Pesticides aren’t always needed.
In nature, there will always be a few garden pests making themselves welcome on your plants and their habitat! One pest does not make a huge problem. Even the healthiest plants can and will attract some kinds of pests, but still create a beautiful and bountiful harvest. Before deciding to go through with pesticides and insecticides, consider which pests are in your garden, and exactly how many of them are present.
4. Clean your pots and tools.
Clay pots are useful for growing smaller plants. An easy and effective way to clean them is to mix equal parts water, rubbing alcohol, and white vinegar, spraying it on to get rid of salt deposits. Make sure you don’t plant anything until the pot dries completely. As for your tools, wash them whenever you can to get rid of grime. It will help them last longer! Next, apply oils to prevent rusting, and then sharpen the tool to keep it in shape.
5. Understand soil acidity.
Many common plants enjoy acid-enriched soil, and actually thrive best in it! Make sure you check which plants do well in these environments before deciding to enhance the soil. By simply adding some coffee grounds or leftover tea leaves to the soil once a month, your acid-thriving plants will experience a great boost! Another great thing to add to the soil? The water that results from boiling or steaming vegetables in your kitchen!
6. Seeds or starter plants?
A very important difference in choosing between seeds and starter plants is the cost. A packet of seeds is most likely going to cost much less than getting a starter plant, regardless of whichever kind of plant you are attempting to work with. There is also more variety with buying seeds, as they are more readily available in larger quantities than starter plants. There is, however, a risk that the seeds may not germinate, despite your best efforts. Consider the pros and cons and be honest about how much effort you are willing to put in! If you decide to plant seeds, try the NK Lawn & Garden® 7 Pot Seed Starter and garden labels from Big R Stores.
7. Be smart when watering.
When you are watering your plants, make sure to avoid directly watering the leaves! Wet leaves are very vulnerable to rotting and attracting mold. Yellow leaves are also indicators that the plant already has enough water! When you are watering, focus on getting the moisture on the roots of the plant. A rule of thumb that is applicable to most plants is to water about an inch every week.