4 Essential Fixes To Help Your Garden Grow
As every veteran gardener will tell you, handling plant life is no picnic. As rewarding as it might be in the long run, gardening can also be a little frustrating. Handling yellowing leaves, seeds that just won’t sprout and plants growing slower than expected is just part of the job.
The trick is to stay calm and follow a few easy steps to diagnose the problem. Check both the plant (stem, leaves, blossoms and fruit) and its immediate environment (soil, light, temperature or humidity) to begin mapping out a solution.
Here are a few most common gardening issues and how to deal with them:
Choosing The Right Amount of Sunlight
Most gardening enthusiasts have to do with whatever plot the house or apartment came with. If you do, however, have a choice, try to place your garden out in the open. That way, you can control the amount of sun reaching your plants.
Most plants (including vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers) require a lot of sun, but there are still plenty of varieties that do best under partial shade.
The golden rule is:
“If you grow it for the fruit or root, you need full sun.
If you grow it for the leaves, stems, or sprouts, partial shade is all you need.”
If the new shoots look rather weak and the growth is slow, this is a sign your plants aren’t getting enough light. New leaves may also be smaller and turn pale while the older ones will turn yellow and wither. Your plant simply fails to bloom under these conditions.
This is your cue to increase access to natural light. If you are indoors, you can increase the artificial light and decrease the temperature by about 3° C.
But what if your plants are exposed to too much sunlight? Turning pale and developing faded spots that wither is a telltale sign you need to remove the plant from direct sunlight or at least install a form of filter. Badly damaged leaves need to be removed to keep the withering from spreading.
Improving Your Soil’s Quality
Always check your soil. If it is too dry, a little water will do the trick, but don’t overdo it! If it is too wet, the seeds may rot under the surface and you’ll have to replant.
Keep in mind there are many types of soil, and they are not all plant-friendly. If you are dealing with sandy, clay or eroding soil, you might find yourself in a bit of a pickle - pun intended. Luckily there are quite a few ways to boost the quality of your soil.
One solution is adding compost to the top layer of every year. Wood ash, aged compost or aged manure can do wonders. Since the ideal pH for your soil is 7.0, a sulfur product or a greater amount of compost will improve the pH. Remember to keep the drainage in check.
Rotating your crops every season will also help you see what type of soil works best for your variety of plants. Different plants require different nutrients such as the nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium available in soil and water.
Finding The Best Watering Solutions
Which takes us to the third key element in growing a beautiful and healthy garden - watering. Every type of plant needs a special type of watering. So, if you are responsible for a wide variety of plants, extra care will be required for each of them.
Whether you use sprinklers or another irrigation system, consider installing a rain gauge. This device will let you know the exact amount of rainfall per designated area, allowing you to calculate how much extra water your plants still require. The rain gauge will also inform you of the quantity of atmospheric moisture that contributes to your garden, in the form of dew or mist.
Also, make sure to check if the seeds need different watering and if your plants have to be watered differently depending on the season. Overwatering is one of the most common issues in this department but the good news is that your plants will be quick to let you know. Yellowing leaves, blisters, pests, warty growth and wilting leaves are signs that you may be overwatering your garden.
Brown leaves can indicate both too much and too little water. The difference is in the texture: soft and limp leaves for too much water, while crisp leaves mean the soil is too dry.
Using The Right Seeds
Choose your seeds with three factors in mind: the type of seeds, climate and personal taste.
There are three main types of seeds: open-pollinated, hybrid and bioengineered seeds. The open-pollinated ones are usually expensive and harder to find but they have a major advantage: they are used to grow plants that replicate the exact traits of their parent plants.
Hybrid seeds are recommended for first-time gardeners, as they are more affordable and offer the possibility of tinkering with different breed variations.
Bioengineered seeds have their DNA altered in a laboratory. This type is the most avoided and less recommended due to the aforementioned lab interventions. These usually translate into a higher resistance to herbicides.
If you are not sure about the climate in your area, you can consult a climate map or you can check this site for more information on climate zone details for gardens. It includes details on the USA, Australia, Canada, UK, New Zealand and South Africa.
Last, but not least, do not neglect your taste and preferences. At the end of the day, you are the one that will enjoy the scent of the flowers, their look and the taste of the fruits and vegetables.
So, don’t hesitate to look for further information if you are willing to grow a certain plant type. With a little extra care, it will grow in less-than-ideal soil and will bring fulfilment and diversity to your little oasis. And to close, we’ll leave you with this Chinese proverb: “Life begins the day you start a garden”.