Whether it’s the beginning of the season or harvest time, a soil-based garden, or an indoor hydroponics system, there’s always something more you can do to help your garden grow. Water, sunlight, fertilizers, and pest control: adjust them along the way to ensure a bigger, better, and more bountiful crop. Here are several different tips on how to grow your garden.
Watch the Water
Water, of course, is indispensable to a garden. The stuff of life itself, you should monitor the amount of water your garden gets to ensure it’s neither thirsting for it nor drowning. A good rule of thumb is to deliver an inch of water a week to the garden. Set up a rain gauge nearby to monitor how much rainfall the garden is getting, and leave it there to measure the amount you’re sprinkling on it yourself. Keep the plants hydrated but not saturated. Excessive water on the leaves can encourage the development of fungus and can also kill the roots. Watch for yellowed leaves and wilting as a sign that you should watch their water intake. One good tip is to water your garden in the morning before the sun can dry it all up.
Go Easy on the Fertilizer
Fertilizer is a perfect example of how too much of a good thing is never good. While fertilizer can help beef up a plant’s nutritional intake, the chemicals it contains can adversely affect the soil and the plants’ capacity for growth. Excessive fertilizer salts the ground, making it harder, if not impossible, for the plant to absorb water and nutrients by burning the roots and leeching water from the plant itself. Sure signs of over-fertilized plans include browning or yellowing leaves and stunted growth. It’s not easy to remove excess fertilizer from the soil, so avoid overdoing it to begin with!
Watch the Pesticides Too
When you see destructive insects attacking your fruits, flowers, and vegetables, the instinct to grab the insecticide and start spraying is understandable. But avoid using it too often, if at all, as pesticides have long-reaching effects. When you use pesticides, you’re dousing your potential fresh produce with chemicals that can affect your health. You’re also adding harmful stuff to the environment that can poison the water, soil, air, and wildlife. Never use pesticides in the morning, because that’s when bees are out gathering nectar and pollinating. Poisoning bees has serious repercussions beyond your garden. Encourage harmful insect predators to visit your garden, like birds, ladybugs, and others, and leave the spray in the shed!
Clean It Up When You’re Done
Still looking for different tips on how to grow your garden? Don’t forget to clean up your garden after the harvest. Pick all the summertime fruits and veggies and remove and dispose of any dead or diseased plants. Cut back perennials and vines and remove the weeds—some may be lurking under your crops! For good measure, spread mulch and add a layer of compost for next year.