A significant amount of planning goes into designing a garden: deciding what plants to seed, how far apart they should be planted, whether they should be color coordinated, and perhaps most importantly, where and how the garden area is situated. Even once those things are considered, the land is seeded, and a regular feeding and watering schedule has been established, few will be surprised to find out that their work is not done. Maintaining a garden can be grueling, temperamental work, and for novices to gardening, there are a number of pitfalls that can catch them unaware.
The conventional wisdom regarding gardening, or what novices think they should do, is not always correct; it’s likely that if caretakers do things like watering their gardens daily or ignore the aphids beginning to cluster around plants, their gardens won’t last long. This article aims to break down some of the more subtle mechanics behind developing and maintaining a mind-blowingly beautiful garden.
Without further ado, let’s get into it.
Re-Evaluate Your Watering Schedule
As mentioned above, the conventional wisdom of watering a little each day is sorely misguided and will likely lead to any garden having a shorter than average lifespan. While it may go against instinct, try watering once a week, giving the plants a couple of inches of water each time; make sure not to over-water the garden, however. The aim is to get the soil below moist, not to have plants floating in the middle of a small lake.
The reason most will want to do this instead is that when plants are watered daily, their roots don’t grow as deep or as strong. Instead, they are comfortable remaining weak, and dependent on daily waterings. Should their caregiver miss a day, or should the plants find themselves in a warmer climate (say, going into the summer months), it’s doubtful they’ll last long.
Avoid Using Toxic Herbicides
While the use of well-known herbicides like Roundup is common in the United States, even ubiquitous, these chemicals actually tend to do more harm than good. Roundup contains a compound called glyphosate, which cuts off the ability of most plants to produce the amino acids and proteins they need to grow and survive. As a result, it’s an effective plant killer, with the downside being without careful application, Roundup can devastate your garden to the point of no return. And that’s putting aside the health complications associated with the product. Glyphosate was labeled a possible carcinogen by the World Health Organization, and battles are currently being fought in court over whether it causes non-Hodgkins leukemia.
Bottom line? Consider using organic weed control methods instead, such as mixing vinegar and salt or simply pouring boiling water over the roots of said weeds.
Prevent the Spreading of Disease
One thing that can doom a garden to desiccation is failing to properly prune plants with broken limbs. Broken limbs function like cuts on the human body, portals for disease to enter and for infection to set in; this is especially true for plants in the wintertime. Constantly checking for broken limbs and trimming the damage away where possible can help ensure that any garden stays vibrant longer.
It also doesn’t hurt to consistently check for any insect infestations. Insects can also spread disease to healthy plants, and if they are allowed to feed on any garden for an extended period, they can single-handedly ensure the demise of every specimen planted. Consider using natural insecticides, as insecticides can have the same negative consequences to personal health as herbicides.
General Upkeep and Common Sense
Common sense will be the best friend of any aspiring gardener. See an errant weed popping up between two plants that need to be kept alive? Spraying Roundup in the area with a backpack sprayer is probably not the best idea. Haven’t fed the soil in a while? Might want to spread some fertilizer and be sure to properly aerate what’s there.
Following gardening best practices and using common sense will ensure that caretakers are able to provide everything a growing garden needs and more.