#1. Plan Ahead:
Before you get out the spades and begin planting away, take a moment to consider a few basics that can make a huge difference in the success of your garden. Some things to keep in mind: where are you going to plant your garden? Will it be all-sun, partial-shade? Are you planting in a bed, in pots, or in the ground? What vegetables do well in your area? What does your household use a lot of? A little research goes a long way! Remember to have fun with it!
If you have less than 2-4” of mulch in your beds, consider mulching to help conserve water and fight weeds. Weeds steal nutrients and water from your vegetables. Mix organic mulch with your outside and kitchen compost to set up an ideal foundation for your garden.
Do they need water? An easy way to tell if your plant needs water is to stick your finger in the soil to your middle joint – if it is moist you don’t need any more water. For potted plants get in the habit of picking up your plants, eventually you will be able to tell how much water is in the soil based on the weight of the pot.
How often? Potted plants in full summer sun need to be watered twice a day, or consider moving to partial shade.
When? Water in the early morning and early afternoon when temperatures are cooler. Avoid watering at night as wet foliage can lead to mold and mildew- so make sure you give ample time for drying. Of course if you have to choose between watering in the evening and not watering at all that day, you’ll want to water.
How? Water close to the soil to make sure it reaches the roots. Spray watering evaporates fast on the surface of the soil.
Perennials: Perennials bloom for 4-6 weeks out of the year. Pulling off dead flowers can encourage a second round of blooms.
Annuals: A majority of annuals bloom all season. If they don’t self-clean, cut them back 4-6” to promote new growth.
#5. Pest Control:
Introducing good bugs into your garden can help in reducing unhelpful bugs and maximizing your harvest…lady bugs, bees, praying mantises, and spiders are all helpful insects in naturally controlling garden pests. Aromatic herbs such as lavender, mint, basil, and rosemary can also encourage these good bugs into your garden. Be sure to place birdhouses, bird feeders, and bird baths around your yard ~ these friendly creatures will be more than happy to munch on some of those less inviting bugs.