If you you are into growing vegetables, fruits, flowers, trees or just plants they all need the same things to survive and prosper in your yard or gardens.
Proper amounts of light, water, fertilizer and air are all factors in creating a thriving garden and for good production of flowers, vegetables and fruits and nuts.
The first thing you can do is check out your state agricultural programs. I bet they all have web pages that you can use but if not most if not all of them produce phamplets and brochures on everything a gardener or farmer needs to know about their specific climate or growing zone and the types of growing problems associated with these zones.
After finding out your climate zones and checking out what types of plants grow best around your area then it is time to check out the varieties of seeds and plants you can get. Again, your agricultural programs should have that information on the best varieties that work well in your climate zone.
When buying seeds and plants look for two things, the number of growing days needed to produce flowers, vegetables and fruits and what climate zone it is rated for. Some seed and plant varieties have been selected for the shorter growth time needed to produce results so look for them if your growing season is short.
OK, you have the seeds or plants and are rip roaring to get them in and growing. This is where you should think about the site you want to use.
How much sun does this spot get everyday? Is the site close to a water source or will you have to lug water there? Does the site provide good air circulation? What type of soil is it? What PH is the soil? Do you need to add fertilizers or not to the soil? Answering all the questions will help in the good results you end up producing.
Some plants, especially vegetables come from warmer climates originally so a lot of sunshine is very important, especially during the ripening stage. Tomatoes and peppers are just two of these types of vegetable plants that need lot of sunshine and a long growing season to produce good crops.
When to water and how much to water is also important. In drier climates watering during the morning or during the sunny part of the day may not be as good as watering in the early evening before the sun goes down. Water evaporates quicky and seeps into different soils at different rates. The surface of the soil may look wet but how far down does the water seep? This is important because you need that water to reach the root system. Leaves do take in a small amount of water but foilage watering can also cause problems like rot and mildew. So soil and root watering is more important than foilage watering.
Air circulation and water are important aspects of a good garden environment, some plants develop the powdery mildew in wetter climates on their leaves from poor air circulation too. This is the reason that plants, especially flowers and vegetables may need a certain amount of space between them. The space is also important for the spreading of the root system. Seed packets and plant tags all tell you the space you need but you can always plant them a little closer then the recommendations if your space it limited. Check to see if the plants you are planting is susceptable to mildew and then plant them with good air circulation space between them.
One trick to use with plants that need a lot of water is to take a soup can, poke holes in the bottom and bury it close to the plant with the top of the can a little higher than the soil around the plant. You can then just fill the cans up and water each plant sperately and save a lot of money on your water bill too.
You can also use plastic on the soil around your plants to help stop water loss, reflect light and heat and to keep weeds down. Mulch, paving stones or flat rocks, layered newspaper and pine needles and even fallen leaves can enhance the environment of your gardens and plants.
A cheap soil test kit is a good idea. Some agricultural programs have a service to check your soil but check to see if there is a cost first.
Now fertilizers can help and they can also damage plants so proper use of them is important. If you have a small space to create a compost heap then this is the best way to add nutrients to your soil for the plants. If not then a good natural liquid fertiizer is what I recommend. Manure is a good addition but watch out for fresh manure, it is called hot and can burn your plants in a few hours. It is best to add manure to the soil early in the season before you start to plant. I put manure on my garden all winter then turn it over in the spring once the soil is dry enough to work.
If you are planting herbs the best time to pick them is in the morning before the hottest part of the day, the essential oils in the plant move back and froth from root to leaf. The oils seem to be at their best in the morning. Frsh herbs are wonderful and add color to your dishes. If you want to dry them then hang them up in a warm, dry place without sun light. Some herbs get stronger when they dry so test them out before you put as much as you did with the fresh herbs. Herbs also make good companion plants.
Many folks plant their plants in rows of like plants. But you can mix and match plant neighbors for a couple of reasons. Some plants enhance the growth of other plants and some plants help deter certain insect pests from your plants. So look into the ideas behind companion planting.
Now if you are planting seeds there are a couple things to understand. Seeds take more time to sprout, some plant seeds take longer than others to sprout. So you have to add this time to the whole growing season. Some seeds can be soaked or even chipped to get them to sprout faster so check for that on the packet. If you are planting a seed that takes a long time to sprout you should mark that place so you don't disturb that area before they have time to sprout. A little trick is to also seed a faster growing plant, like radish, to mark the place. You will be picking radishes before the other plant needs all the space to grow. Also it is good to know what the plant sprout looks like so you don't pull them out when weeding and cleaning the garden.
There are many more tips to learn and a good gardening book can help you learn them all. Go to the library or contact your agricultural department for help. You paid taxes for both of them so use them both as much as possible and save money.
Well I hope these tips can help you create better results in your gardens and Happy Gardening to you all this year and I hope to see many photos of your gardens here.