Whether your garden is a cluster of pots on a patio or fire escape or a backyard spanning acres, taking care of demanding plants can be a challenge. Here are 10 things gardeners often overlook that can make a big difference in whether your gardening experience is discouraging or delightful.
- Nurturing the Soil
Soil is the foundation of every garden, so it’s important to know your soil type, from sandy to clay to loam, and add amendments as necessary. (Take a handful to a local nursery when in doubt.) Container gardening offers more control over the soil, but even the richest potting mix becomes depleted over time, so enrich the soil with each new growing season.
- Following the Sun
Sun – some plants can’t get enough of it, others wither in its glare. Before planning your garden, take note of the sun patterns in each planting location, paying attention to morning and evening angles as well as when the sun is overhead. Next, read up on the sun requirements of any plant before you choose its permanent location, and don’t be afraid to shift things around if a plant seems unhappy.
- Staking Early and Often
It’s easy to forget when tucking two-inch seedlings into the ground that many plants grow very quickly, especially in the summer months. Left untended, they’ll sprawl in directions you don’t intend or even break if they get too top-heavy. The solution: set up wire cages, poles, arbors, and trellises soon after planting to give plants a head start on support.
- Watering Too Much or Too Little
Believe it or not, both of these are common mistakes – and many of us do both! That’s because plants evolved to draw water from the soil in specific conditions and they need just enough water to thrive. The solution? Install a drip irrigation system that mimics the effects of nature like Orbit’s All-In-One Sprinkler Kit with B-hyve timer. Covering up to 2,500 square feet with a simple hose connection makes setting up a nature-mimicking watering system a snap – and you’ll save water, too.
- Thinning Out The Crowd
Overcrowding can result in some plants shading others and root systems competing for space and nutrients. It’s not easy to dig up a plant you’ve nurtured, but remember that when you remove some to give others space, you’re doing them all a favor in the long run.
- Setting an Auto-Timer
With our busy lives and unpredictable schedules, a timer is an essential part of any irrigation system. But setting your system to water for 20 minutes every Tuesday doesn’t help if a heatwave or a sudden burst of wet weather hits. Orbit’s B-hyve Smart Hose Watering Timer with WiFi hub solves that problem by regulating itself according to online weather data. And it connects over your smartphone so you can control it anywhere – even from your cabin in the mountains.
- Keeping Weeds at Bay
Weeds aren’t just unsightly, they’re also aggressive spreaders, which is how they came to be in your garden in the first place. To prevent weeds from pushing your plants aside, pull them while they’re still young and haven’t done much damage.
- Feeding with Fertilizer
Even the best soil gets depleted over time as plants draw nutrients from the soil and water washes them away. Use fertilizer at least once a month and more often for container and house plants.
- Pruning and Deadheading
As flowers fade, plants begin channeling their energy into seed development. To encourage repeat blooming, prune branches or pinch off dead blooms, a process known as deadheading.
- Replacing a Non-Starter
Give yourself permission to replace plants that aren’t living up to expectations, offering the discards to friends and neighbors when you can. Real estate is as valuable in the garden as elsewhere and every spot counts.
Here at Orbit, we’ve found that following these tips results in happier plants, lower water use, and a greener garden the neighbors can’t help but notice.