In a few weeks, most of us will take part in the annual “Garden Mart Shuffle”. We usually dread dragging an overstuffed cart filled with soil, plants, and other soil treatment options if we skip the expensive planting soil. After we spend more money than we anticipate, we still have to haul of this home and that’s where the real work begins – how to make your garden grow.
Now that you have gardening on your mind, you become more conscious of every front yard on your way home. You wonder if everything you just purchased will yield the results that you have been dreaming of all winter. Will you finally grow vegetables that are Instagram worthy? Will your flowers stand out to passerbys?
To make any garden thrive or die, there are four key variables; water, sun, dirt, and soil nutrients. There is very little that you need from that garden mart aside from your plants and possibly a fertilizer if you choose.
4 Secrets to Make Your Garden Grow
Always check the light requirements for each plant that you plan on placing in your yard. Too much or not enough sun can undermine that plant’s chance to thrive. More importantly, as much as your plant needs some amount of sunlight; never water your gardens while the sun is high in the sky. By watering dirt, the dirt becomes darker in color. As a result, the dirt heats up to a temperature that can damage the plants roots. Watering in the evening is always the best thing you can do for your plant and make your garden grow. It gives your plants a chance to soak in the water for the longest length of time. Watering a garden in the morning doesn’t give your budding beauties enough time to soak the soil before the sun starts to warm up that soil and evaporate moisture.
Put back that expensive release bag of potting soil. The additive for that soil is likely found in your home or can be purchased for less at any given dollar store. The additive used in this new moisture balancing soil is what is in every baby diaper or adult continence product. It is a moisture absorbing hydrogel. Officially, it’s call sodium polyacrylate and beyond easy to add to your soil.
Even more importantly, your soil needs to be loose, allowing for your newly arriving plants to expand their root system. If your soil is compacted, the roots will not be able to expand as easily. You want those roots to have the freedom to grow. The bigger the root system, the bigger the plant will become. Till the soil well and add in peat moss or a fluffy dry compost material. Make sure that you till the soil more than just a couple inches down. Remember, roots grow in every direction. Till down at least 12” but 16” is even a better depth for you average flowers and veggies. Peat moss helps to break up that compacting dirt; however, it has zero nutritional value for your growing greens.
Just like people, plants of every variety need essential nutrients that can be found in naturally rich or fertilized soil. Unlike great soil, we as people are not naturally rich. Usually our first thought is to buy a fertilizer of some time. Unless you are a composting hero, we are all searching for the best fertilizers. It is easy to feel overwhelmed when trying to determine whether to purchase the slow release, quick release, all natural, or the familiar brands. If you do well with a brand, that is great! If you have ever burned your plants with expensive brands, you are not alone! There are natural alternatives that work as well or better than the chemical filled fertilizer that your Mom uses!
Your plants need nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. You could spend months learning the different ratios of these three nutrients for each specific use in your garden. After much trial and even more error, I began seeking out fertilizing fool-proof methods. Tilling in old coffee grounds not only help with adding nitrogen to your soil, but they help break up and prevent soil compacting similar to peat moss. Adding in broken egg shells to the mix will also help with balancing the pH of your soil and add calcium that your plants will use. Any lake weeds that you can get your hands on are amazing for your soil as well. Most towns will have an abundance of green water weeds in spring as they prepare their local lakes for the summer season.
If you are a patient person with the room to compost, I applaud you! I don’t deny my lack the space, patience, and ability to successfully compost. A couple years ago, I discovered Great Big Plants, LLC. This small family-owned business sells their liquid and dry organic compost fertilizing products. To address what you are thinking, it does not have any smell. It saved me all the time of making my own compost and their prices are appealing. In addition to the organic benefits and rich nutrients and micro-nutrients that it is made of, it also possesses microbes and bioavailable carbon. This fertilizing liquid remains at the root zone for immediate plant absorption. Using Great Big Plants adds more than just a three nutrient enrichment; it helps your soil come alive with microbes that aren’t found in your garden market variety chemical fertilizer.
No matter what fertilizer you choose, remember to never sprinkle it directly onto your plant. Sprinkle it around the plant to avoid damaging your plants foliage or blooms. Your garden will give the neighbors something to marvel at and your followers on Instagram commenting on your green thumb!
As the spring arrives and garden marts are filled with enthusiastic consumers, you can now head straight for the flower section. If you need soil, grab the bargain bag without feeling like you are cheating your future garden. You now can achieve the same big garden without spending money on expensive bags of soil and fertilizers that you simply guessed at. You will still need to till your existing garden soil, and you will look like an expert doing so. As the sun begins to set, it is almost therapeutic to stop and smell the flowers. You will wind down your busy day marveling at what you did to make your garden grow and give it a sprinkle of water while you are there.
The views expressed on this post are that of the person and do not necessarily reflect the views of Premier Medical Staffing Services, LLC or its subsidiaries.