There’s nothing like the feel of soil between your fingers or watching things grow that you planted, but gardening isn’t as easy as just plopping plants in the ground and hoping for the best.
While some plants are bound to die no matter what you do, there are definitely some secrets to having a beautiful garden year after year.
Luckily, we have some professional secrets that will help your garden look and perform its very best.
Do your research
Even though you’d rather be rooting through your garden than a book, doing research is an important part of planning a garden.
Here are a few things it is absolutely critical that you know and understand before planning and planting your garden:
-What plants grow well in your area (you should be familiar with your area’s plant hardiness zone)
-Which direction your garden faces (north, south, east, west) – this will impact how much sun your garden gets. Keep in mind that the sun is further south in the winter and further north in the summer. As we always say, “right plant, right place!”
-How much sun and shade each part of your garden gets
-How much sun and water each plant needs
-What nutrients are in – and lacking from – your soil
-What nutrients your plants need, so you know what to add to your soil
-How to make and use compost
-What sort of plants you can add to your garden that will act as natural pest control or attract pollinators
Prepare your soil
All soil is not the same. You should test your soil at least every three years so that you know what nutrients are lacking.
This can help you add the best type of compost, mulch, or fertilizer to provide your soil with all the nutrients it needs to feed your plants. After all, your plants derive all of their nutrition from the soil – if the soil doesn’t have the right nutrients, your plants won’t have a way to get them.
Use (and make) compost
The importance of compost can’t be overstated. It’s not much of a secret – every gardening website recommends using compost.
Not only is compost a great way to add nutrients to your soil and help your garden grow, but it’s a great way to reduce lawn and kitchen waste by turning lawn debris and food trash into something useful instead of sending it to a landfill.
Composting is a great two-for-one – it helps the environment and your garden. You don’t need a giant compost heap in your backyard – even a bucket can be used to start composting on a small scale.
Looking for compost? Shop our selection:
Tackle one task at a time
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the vast amount of work that caring for a garden can entail. Don’t focus on the entire garden at once – pick one thing at a time to focus on and do well. One task at a time, you can manage all the work that your garden requires.
If it helps, create a weekly schedule to help you manage all the tasks your garden requires. Trying to juggle every task in your head can be more exhausting than you would expect, so writing it down can make you more efficient.
Taking notes every year on what did and didn’t work in your garden can help you improve your skills from year to year. You may think you’ll remember that your side yard is shadier than you expected, but an entire winter is a long time to keep track of every tiny gardening detail.
Review your notes every spring before planning your new garden, and soon enough, your garden will be the envy of the neighborhood – and your neighbors will be turning to you for their research!