Gardening is a great way to beautify your home and get in touch with nature. Many people find gardening satisfying for those reasons, as well as being able to grow something.

That being said, growing a garden is a science. That is, if you want to grow a good garden. If you walk through the how-to section at the library, you will find hundreds of gardening books throughout the stacks. That is because gardening takes a lot of care and skill to make it flourish.

Here are the basic things you need to do to care for your plants:

  • Water. It is the source of life for a plant. Consistent watering literally keeps a plant from dying. This is especially important if you live in a more dry climate. When you first plant, you will need to give your plant plenty of water. This will help the plant establish roots into the soil and also help it avoid transplant shock. (Transplant shock is when the plant gets shocked from being moved from a container to the garden. If you do not ease the shock, the plant could die.) After the plant is more established into the ground, follow the recommended watering schedule. If you do not want to spend your days standing out in your garden with a hose, install an irrigation system that will do the watering for you. You can set it up to a schedule which takes out the guess work.
  • Fertilizer. This is the jump start many plants need to keep alive year after year. Perennials (the plants that you plant once and continue to live year after year) need to be fertilized once a year for optimal growth. Annuals do not need much fertilizer; those plants will get what they need from the soil. Find fertilizer at any home improvement store or plant nursery.
  • Deadhead. This is actually one of my favorite gardening chores. Deadheading is when you cut off or remove dead parts of the plant. This happens often with petunias. The flowers will bloom and then dry up and die. You need to remove those dead parts so new parts of the plant can grow. If not, the plant will put all of its energy to try to revive that part of the plant instead of focusing on new growth. Plus, it makes your garden look better.
  • Add new mulch. Mulch is your secret weapon to fight weeds. However, it can decompose after a few years, so you need to replace it to keep it looking fresh. Mulch also keeps your garden looking nice and uniform.

Planting Mistakes to Avoid

  • Avoid utility lines. When planting your garden or with any landscaping, keep an eye out for utility lines. Mark them before you do any heavy work or risk knocking out power or water for your entire neighborhood.
  • Give your plants space. Overcrowded plants will fight each other for sunlight and other nutrients. Give them space for optimal growth.
  • Ditch aggressive plants like morning glory. You will never get rid of them.
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