Are you looking to create your perfect garden? The Lawhead Team would like to share some tips to getting your garden to look its best!
Your garden should be your retreat, a place which evokes thought and tranquility. Whatever your idea of a perfect garden may be, following these helpful steps will help you achieve the garden of your dreams.
Consider the overall purpose for your garden. A garden designed to feed the family fresh fruits and vegetables will vary greatly from a garden designed for ornamental value. Many gardeners prefer to combine both function and beauty in the same garden by adding flowers and herbs to vegetable gardens, but the ultimate design is up to you.
- Choose a location for your garden that receives six to eight hours of direct sunlight a day, unless, of course, you wish to grow a shade garden. Garden vegetables, herbs and most flowers prefer a sunny location.
Till the soil to a depth of 8 to 12 inches with a garden tiller. Remove rocks, roots and other debris from the soil. Amend the soil with a 2- to 3-inch layer of compost or well-rotted manure, and work it into the top 6 inches of soil. Organic matter improves the texture of the soil, increases aeration and promotes good drainage. Even plants that prefer moist soil suffer if the soil remains wet and require adequate drainage for healthy growth.
Apply fertilizer to the gardening area before planting, spreading it over the area and working it into the soil. A balanced fertilizer, such as 10-10-10 or 5-10-10, provides the nutrients most plants need to grow. Unless your soil is deficient in specific nutrients, as evidenced by a soil test, use a balanced formula and follow the application rate on the container.
Plant seeds or seedlings at the appropriate time. Plant tender plants, such as beans, cucumbers, corn, tomatoes, peppers, squash and melons, in late spring once the danger of frost has passed in your area. Cool-season crops, such as onions, peas, potatoes and greens, can be planted as soon as the soil has dried in the spring and is easily worked. Plant most annual flowers after the danger of frost. Most perennials tolerate frost and can be planted earlier. If in doubt about your specific plants, refer to the seed packet or plant identification tag to determine the appropriate planting time.
- Check your garden daily for any signs of insects or disease. Insect pests and disease can decimate you garden within days if they are ignored. Hand-pick insects or apply the appropriate insecticide following the directions on the label.
Remove weeds when they are young by pulling from the roots or cutting at the surface of the soil with a hoe. Use mulch for weed control if preferred. Both organic mulch — such as grass clippings, wood chips or straw — and inorganic mulch — such as plastic or crushed stone — make effective weed barriers. Mulch also conserves water and maintains soil temperatures.
Water your garden once or twice a week, saturating the soil to the root level. Most flowers and vegetables prefer soil that dries slightly between each watering. If the soil feels dry 1 inch below the surface of the soil, your garden typically needs watering, but there are exceptions. Always refer to the watering needs of your specific plants if you have doubts.