3 Tips for Growing a Great Garden
Many people want to jump in with both feet with their first garden. Even though you want to have a fabulous garden and grow lots of wonderful produce, you need to understand the basics if you want to be a successful gardener. Gardening is a learning process and what works well for one person may not grow well at all for someone else. This is because there are many environmental changes from one yard to the next. The soil may be different, the exposure of the garden is different, even the temperature may be different. While tips from others are very helpful, you need to learn what will grow the best in your garden and that takes time and a lot of trial and error!
However, there are a few basics that everyone should understand before they start to garden. They are soil, exposure, and climate. If you understand how these three things work in your garden, you will be on your way to growing a bountiful crop of delicious fruits and vegetables!
- Soil – there are different types of soil, some are primarily clay and others are primarily sand. What you want is a good mix of the two, or a sandy loam soil. Sandy loam will allow for good drainage, but it will also hold enough moisture to keep the plants healthy. It also is light enough that air and nutrients can get in, but not so light that everything drains quickly away.
- If your soil is too sandy or has too much clay, you can amend it so that it will be perfect for growing a garden. By adding organic material to any soil you will help it become a healthy blend for gardening. For clay soil you will want to work sand and peat moss in so it will be able to drain adequately. Sandy soils need to have organic material such as aged manure and compost added. As you add the organic material you will begin to see the soil becoming healthier.
- Exposure – one of the most vital things a garden needs is lots of sunlight. For that reason you want to position your garden so it gets the most sun exposure possible. Keep it away from buildings and trees that may shade it if possible. You will also want to plant larger plants such as corn and sunflowers on the north or east so they won’t shade the smaller plants during the day.
- While you are thinking about exposure, if you live in an area that gets heavy winds you may want to consider shelter for your garden. This could be a wall or a fence along the north or east side of the garden. Most damaging winds come from the north so protection on this side is a good idea. Even a sturdy row of corn or sunflowers can help protect the more tender plants.
- Climate – every plant will not grow everywhere. This is something to remember when you are planting your garden. Climate plays a big part in how well things grow. Climate controls the length of the growing season as well, so if something takes 180 days to grow and your growing season is 160 days it is best not to plant it. If you are new to the area, ask your neighbors or the local garden center what grows best in the area. That way you won’t get your hopes up for something that just won’t grow well.
Anyone can grow a beautiful and bountiful garden. Pay attention to the three things mentioned and you will be on your way to becoming a successful gardener!
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