When you're just starting out with gardening, it can seem like there's so much to know and you've got a thousand questions. How should you plant your vegetable seeds, and what kind of soil is best? When should you prune your flowers and divide your perennials? Is everything getting enough sunlight and water? #garden seeds
The good news is that nature is a terrific teacher. The more you garden, the more you'll learn about what works and what doesn't. But for now, use this list of basic gardening tips to find the answers to some of the most common questions beginners have. And don't forget to have fun while growing your own food and beautiful flowers in your yard!
1. GIVE YOUR GARDEN ONE LONG WEEKLY SOAK (ABOUT AN INCH OF WATER)
Short, frequent waterings won't penetrate to the roots.
2. AVOID WATERING DURING THE HOTTEST PART OF THE DAY
Unless you want to burn your plants. (Shoot for morning or dusk instead.)
3. IF TRANSPORTING PLANTS, DO SO AFTER A RAINFALL
Damp soil will keep the roots from cracking.
4. "INSULATE" YOUR HOME WITH SHRUBS AND BUSHES
Planting strategically along your facade can create a natural wind barrier...and save you money on heating costs.
5. BE CAREFUL NOT TO OVERMOW YOUR GRASS
Never cut shorter than two inches: It'll weaken the grass and make your lawn susceptible to weeds.
6. ASSESS HOW MUCH SUNLIGHT YOUR BLOOMS WILL GET BEFORE YOU PLANT THEM
Most plants need six hours of sun to thrive.
7. PRUNE SPRING TREES (LIKE LILAC AND MAGNOLIA) RIGHT AFTER THEY FINISH BLOOMING
If you wait too long, you’ll dissuade next year’s buds.
8. KEEP HERBS SEPARATE FROM OTHER PLANTINGS
Mint, in particular, is highly invasive.
9. STRIP LOWER LEAVES ON VEGETABLE PLANTS REGULARLY
This will prevent fungal diseases from encroaching.
10. STAKE YOUR TALL PERENNIALS (LIKE PEONIES AND HOLLYHOCKS) EARLY
It’s pretty hard to do so once they’ve taken off.
11. AND A REMINDER ON PERENNIALS: THEY NEED THREE YEARS TO MATURE
Practice patience and you’ll reap the rewards, people.
12. DEADHEAD YOUR FLOWERING PLANTS VIGILANTLY
Remove wilted blooms to tell your plant to make more of 'em.
13. IMPROVE YOUR SOIL BY WORKING IN A FEW INCHES OF COMPOST
Manure and peat moss work great too.
14. TACKLE SPRING PLANTINGS ON CLOUDY DAYS
New plants take best to cool soil.
15. USE BROTH FROM COOKING VEGGIES TO WATER YOUR PLANTS
"Veggie soup" is the best plant food.
16. BROKEN TERRA-COTTA POTS? PLACE THEIR SHARDS AROUND PLANTS
This will keep critters from tearing up your geraniums.
17. AND EDGE YOUR FLOWER BEDS WITH ROCKS
To help discourage grasses and weeds from taking over.
18. LINE CONTAINER GARDENS WITH A THIN LAYER OF GRAVEL
Proper drainage is key here, people.
19. PLANT BLOOMING HERBS TO ATTRACT BUTTERFLIES
Like lavender and bee balm.
20. BUT MAKE SURE YOU HAVE EVERGREENS LIKE BOXWOOD AND HEATH TOO
You want your garden to look good in every season, right?
21. HOLES FOR BULBS SHOULD BE TWO TO THREE TIMES AS DEEP AS THE BULB ITSELF
They need room to grow, after all.
22. WEAR GARDENING GLOVES
Those rose bushes are no match for your protected paws.
23. RUN YOUR FINGERNAILS ACROSS A BAR OF SOAP
Gardener hack: This will seal off dirt from accumulating under your nails.
24. DON’T JUMP THE GUN AND PLANT TOO EARLY IN THE SEASON
Check your local last "frost dates”. (Hint: It’s mid-May in the Northeast.)
25. ADD A TINY BIT OF FERTILIZER TO WATER FOR NEW PLANTS
It’s like giving a toddler milk for strong bones.
26. PLANT MARIGOLDS ALONG YOUR BORDERS TO KEEP UNWANTED BUGS AWAY
Gnats and mosquitos hate them.
27. LOAD UP ON PERENNIALS LIKE IRISES AND HYACINTHS
They’re splurgier than annuals, but they’ll save you work and money in the long run (since they regrow from the same root system every year).
28. USE WEED PREVENTING PRODUCTS LIKE PREEN
When it comes to weeding, extra reinforcements are often necessary.
29. OR USE MULCH TO SMOTHER WEEDS ENTIRELY
Works like a charm, honest.
30. AND THEN USE IT AS A PRETTY FILLER FOR BARREN SPOTS
Like underneath sycamore tree root, where you can't seem to grow anything. Three cheers for pretty, easy fixes.