We’ve all heard it a thousand times: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Nowhere is this truer than in gardening. From the basics of planting to proper nutrition to dealing with pests and disease—gardening is a hobby that is best enjoyed when done right. As you begin caring for your garden this summer, here are some tips to make the season enjoyable.
After you’ve made your decisions on what to plant—and admittedly, for gardeners, that can be the hardest part!—be sure to plant it properly. Whether annuals, perennials, shrubs or trees, most plants will grow better if planted in a hole slightly shallower than the depth of the soil in the pot in which they were grown.
Remember my grandma’s saying: “Plant it too high, it will not die; plant it too low, it will not grow.” Very few plants thrive when planted too deep (a major exception being tomatoes), so if anything, err on the side of planting too shallow, and watch how much better your plants grow.
Next, make an effort to give your plants the proper nutrition. With today’s smaller yards, hanging baskets and container gardens have become the norm in gardening. Unlike flowers planted in the ground, however, baskets and pots require more water, and consequently, more fertilizer. As you enjoy the beauty of the hanging baskets you’ve proudly hung outside your front door this month, remember to water and feed regularly.
First, plan to water daily until the hanging basket begins to drip. The amount of water you’ll use will vary widely throughout the season, so don’t expect that the amount of water you give the basket on a cloudy day in June will be adequate on a hot August day.
|Jack’s Classic ‘Dynamic Duo’ will keep your plants
growing strong and blooming heavily all summer!
Secondly, feed your containers and hanging baskets once a week. Annuals are hungry plants, and in order to keep growing and blooming they need to be fed regularly. Now, any fertilizer is better than none, but many gardeners who have tried products other than the famous green and yellow package will tell you there are better fertilizers out there.
For the best results, use Jack’s Classic water-soluble fertilizer, alternating between the All-Purpose blend and Blossom Booster each week. Doing so will not only keep your plants growing strong but also increase the quantity, size and vibrancy of your flowers. If you plant a lot of petunias or million bells, Jack’s Petunia Feed is another beneficial fertilizer to satisfy these iron-hungry plants.
Now, it’s a little early for a lot of the summer pests you’ll have to deal with this year, but remember, “an ounce of prevention…” and take some simple steps now to deal with pests preemptively. Before slugs get the best of your hostas, petunias and marigolds, spread some organic slug bait like Sluggo. Nothing ruins a good day in gardening like discovering your prized plantings eaten beyond recognition, so apply some bait before disaster strikes.
Finally, keep your plants growing strong this season by treating to keep bugs away. For many flowering shrubs, a systemic insecticide like Bayer Rose & Flower Care will prevent infestations for six weeks; for the vegetable garden, a treatment of Sevin insect dust at the time of planting will safely keep the “extra protein” off your broccoli and lettuce and let your plants grow without bugs ruining the crop.
As with any other worthwhile endeavor, gardening will give the most rewards when done right, so take some simple steps this month and enjoy a healthy, productive gardening season ahead.