The following lawn and garden care tips will help you get the most from your garden.
1. Different soil types have different watering needs. Loosen the soil around plants so it can quickly absorb water and nutrients. Early morning or night is the best time for watering to reduce evaporation.
Lengthening the time between watering combined with deep, heavy watering encourages root growth while reducing top growth in lawns. This increases the root-to-shoot ratio and helps produce plants that are more resistant to wilting when exposed to infrequent watering.
2. When choosing plants for your garden, remember crops that are suited to your soil and climate will be more resistant to problems. If you experiment with exotics, be prepared to give them more care. Also, when placing plants around the home, remember as a general rule, plants with thick leaves can take lower light levels than those with thin leaves.
3. Fertilizers provide nutrients necessary for plant health and growth, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Test your soil to find out what nutrients are needed. Choose a fertilizer that has at least one-fourth of the nitrogen in a slow-release form, such as sulfur-coated urea.
4. Mow lawn frequently to chop up leaves and recycle them into the lawn. If the leaves are too thick or matted then rake them up.
5. Keep garden beds covered with shredded leaves to minimize the risk of soil erosion and nutrient run-off.
6. Leave the grass clippings to decompose on the lawn. This will provide nutrients equivalent to one or two fertilizer applications. Set mower at 2 inches to reduce water use during hot weather.
7. Consider using natural alternatives for chemical pesticides such as non-detergent insecticidal soaps, garlic, hot pepper sprays, used dishwater, or forceful stream of water to dislodge insects. Also consider using plants that naturally repel insects.
8. Organic Gardening – Since organic fertilizer and soil conditioning materials are slow working in general, they should be mixed into the soil at least three weeks ahead of planting and the soil thoroughly prepared for the seed or transplants.
9. Where animal manures are available, they are probably the best source of fertilizer and organic matter for the organic gardener. Use manure which has been aged for at least 30 days, or composted.
10. Weeds are easy to control when they are small. Shallow cultivation and hoeing are advised in order to reduce damage to the root system.