April 19, 2011

You asked for it...Gardening Tips!

Since my last post, I've been contacted by several friends, requesting gardening tips.

Disclaimer, I'm not an expert ;-)

What I've learned, I've learned by trial & error and through watching my mother & others work in their yards. I used to think I could buy a plant, dig a hole & put it in the ground & my work was done. When the plant died or looked wimpy, I'd scratch my head & wonder what I did wrong.

Well, I did everything wrong. It was probably the wrong plant for that spot, the soil sucked & I didn't ask the plant where it would like to live. This ties back to the old sayings about talking to your plants. They really do talk...seriously! So here are my tips; in no particular order...

  1. If the ground is hard, till it. Yes, you will need to borrow, rent or beg someone with a tiller to hook you up. After you till the ground, wait a few days & it would hurt to spray some weed killer on the tilled spot too.
  2. Get your hands dirty. Get down on your knees and move the earth around, plucking out unwanted weeds.
  3. Add soil conditioner, manure, compost, top soil...you want to create an environment that attracts worms and rolly pollys (sp?). These insects are a sign of healthy soil. They are also fun to play with.
  4. Read the label on the plants you buy. If it says plant in full sun, by all means, plant that bad boy or girl, in full sun. The same goes for partial sun, etc.  Know how the sun embraces your abode so you know how the sun falls across your yard & for how long.
  5. Be patient! Flowers such as sunflowers and zinnias grow from seeds quite easily. Zinnias, although annuals, will reseed for the next season. Once your zinnias have dried up, cut them down & bury them for the next season. You may need to move them around a bit to put them back where you want them.
  6. I love free plants! Whenever possible, I ask for pieces of plants from the yards of friends and relatives.
  7. After everthing is in its place, stand back & take a long look at your work. Are you pleased with the layout? Do the plants look happy?
  8. Finally, add mulch or pine needles to manage weeds & maintain moisture in the soil.
Let me know how it goes! Happy planting...it's not too late to get started.

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