Do you ever wonder why some people are able to grow abundant and healthy fruits and vegetables in their gardens while others can’t even keep a cactus alive? Is there a secret that is passed down between generations of gardeners, or is it simple luck? While there are no secrets, there are habits that distinguish successful gardeners from failed ones, and Dr. Willard’s® will let you in on them!
Slow Your Hoe!
Once you make the decision to plant something in your garden, it can be tempting to start right away. However, successful gardeners will tell you to wait and watch before planting. Spend time in your garden in order to observe things that can make or break your gardening experience. Here are some things to notice and notate:
Is your yard generally sunny or covered by shade? Are some areas more prone to sun than others? What part of the day receives the most sun and the most shade?
Most plants are very particular about the amount of sun they need to thrive. For example, berry bushes, such as raspberry and blueberry, need ample sun to grow, while beets, carrots and chard can grow in partial shade.
When you notate light patterns in your yard, you can make knowledgeable choices about what to plant and where.
Different parts of the country tend to have different types of soil, which include clay, sandy, hardpan or rocky soil. Also, pH levels of the soil varies from garden to garden, which is a big determinant of plant growth and health. Performing a soil test, which can be as low as $30, can tell you whether your soil is acidic or alkaline, and to what degree. You can then purchase soil amendments to change the Ph levels of your soil.
Do Some Research
After you have notated observations about your garden, start your research! Yes, gardening is a skill and a trade that requires you to learn about plants, routines, care and tricks of the trade. The more prepared you are to start your garden and troubleshoot issues, the better return you will get on your investment of seeds, plant lings and supplies. Things to research include:
Know Your Hardiness Zone
Just as you likely prefer a certain climate (hot or cool), so do plants; in fact, most of them will only grow in specific parts of the country. Start by finding out what your USDA Plant Hardiness Zone is, which will give you direction as far as what plants to purchase, what times to start planting, and what care routines are required for your garden.
Choose Your Plants Wisely
You may want to grow your own salad ingredients in your own backyard, but planting tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, kale and squash in a small space may not be the best idea. Once you narrow down on native plants that will thrive in your area, research each one to pick which variety will work best for you.
Some require more care and need more space, while others may grow in close proximity to others and will grow with a little water and some mulch. Make sure you know the following information about each plant you choose:
- How to prepare soil for specific varieties of plants
- Best time to plant
- How to start a seedling or where to purchase a plantling
- How much space each plant needs
- How much water or sun each plant can tolerate
- Care routine (trimming, mulching, etc.)
- Common problems and how to address them
- Best time to pick the fruit of the plants
- How to close the garden at the end of the season
Decide on your Gardening Routine
Simply planting and watering your crops is never enough, you will need to add amendments in order to help the fruits and vegetables thrive. Don’t rely on picking up any fertilizer you find at a local garden store, do your research first!
Did you know that most traditional fertilizers harm the plants they are designed to protect, as well as soil, our health and the environment? From depleting natural vitamins of fruits and vegetables to stripping the soil of its nutrients and polluting groundwater and air, the toxins that make up fertilizers are dangerous!
Use products that are made with all natural ingredients, such as our agricultural formula, PlantCatalyst®! Without any toxic chemicals, a small amount of this product can help reduce the amount of fertilizer used by up to 50 percent! Plus, PlantCatalyst® has a multitude of benefits for your plants, such as:
- Increased germination rate, speed and strength
- Decreased growing times
- Increased yield and overall production
- Enhanced root growth and plant strength