There are more new gardeners being inspired across the globe than ever before. While there’s an element of gardening that is artistic and instinctive, it’s also very much a science. Which is good news, because you can get better at it. Frank Ferragine shares his basic tips for growing your beginner garden.
1. Light and Location
Before you buy the plant, remember that the key to flourishing growth is picking the right place for the right plant. We want to make sure it’s an area capable of enduring difficult conditions, the right soil type — but the main thing is the right sunlight. This information is located on the tag of the plant. It’s essential to look at the plant tag ensuring it matches a location that will work for your home. A tag that reads that the plant needs full sun means at least 6 hours of direct afternoon sunlight, when the sun is higher in the sky. Generally if you have an East facing home or North facing home you’ll have more part-sun or shade. If you have a West facing home or South facing home with no trees often what you’ll have is full sun. Fortunately you can purchase a light meter that will give you a reliable way measure light. You can also get apps that will give you specific dimensions . Always remember — no plant grows in darkness.
2. Prune After the Bloom
A general rule of thumb is that we should prune after the bloom. If we prune too early as the new growth is emerging we will actually be removing the flowers from a plant. When pruning cut the top to shape out plant, remove the dead wood from the centre so we have good airflow, and remember most importantly to prune after you bloom.
3. Right Soil
It cannot be overstated to get the right soil for the right application. It’s crucial to feel your soil, understand its texture and weight. When working with potting soil you’ll find it’s typically lighter than garden soil. Potting soil is always going to be best. The heavier gardening soil mix is great for the gardens, however it makes plants sit too wet and too long in a pot.
Fertilizers are fundamental to keeping plants prosperous. It’s necessary to know how fertilizers work. The 3 numbers you’ll find on fertilizers represent the values of plant nutrients. Those 3 numbers labelled on fertilizers are the plant’s nutrients NPK ratio: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). The first number is for the green of a plant, the middle number is for roots or flowers, and the last number is for the general health of a plant.
5. When to Garden
Although a sunny day may feel great, it’s not the most ideal condition for gardening. Its not good on the plants and not good for you. That being said it’s best not to garden on sunny days. On a sunny day if a plant is dry it’ll be under stress. The perfect day is when it’s a bit cool and overcast, you plant and right after it rains through the night. Cooler conditions are better for planting plants and better for you! You’ll stay replenished and avoid dehydration. Those plants will be so happy they’ll be dancing in their roots!
The Secret to Growing Container Tomatoes
The key to thriving tomatoes is at the root. Take a tomato plant and start to pick off the bottom leaves. Once planted you’ll bury the stem approximately halfway into the ground. The reason this works effectively is because the roots will shoot out of the stem, the stock will thicken, and in turn it’ll grow nice and strong. Always remember when planting tomatoes: bury the stem, pull the leaves off, you’ll have better success with healthier tomatoes and most importantly happier tomatoes!
Bonus: A tomato can be planted on an angle, bent up, covered in soil and it’ll still grow straight.
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