Planting a shade-lover in full sun isn’t likely to bring success. The good news is that we can learn from our mistakes and those of others. First, we have to admit that we are not perfect.
Here are five common gardening mistakes—and how to avoid them.
no soil tests
Proper soil pH Success is the number one ingredient for success, but there’s no one-size-fits-all number to strive for. For example, tomatoes grow best in soil with a pH of between 6.0 and 6.8. Blueberry plants, on the other hand, are likely to turn yellow and will produce little, if any, fruit if the pH exceeds 5.5. This is because nutrients are available to plants only at target pH levels, which vary for each type of plant.
Purchasing testing kits are relatively inexpensive and widely available at garden centers. Pick one and test the soil in each garden bed individually, as pH often varies even on the same property. A reading of 7.0 is considered neutral. Anything less indicates acidic soil; High alkaline.
The best course of action — would be to select the plants best suited for your garden’s conditions. But suppose you need to reconcile your love of tomatoes with the low pH value of your soil? In that case, you can add dolomitic lime (follow package directions) to raise the level.
Most garden plants require 1 to 1½ inches of water per week. In Las Vegas we use supplemental irrigation. You can use snake a porous soaker hose or drip-irrigation system made of perforated plastic tubing across the surface of the soil. This will direct the water to the roots, rather than to the leaves, fruits and flowers, where it is needed.
Compost is a gardener’s best friend: It improves drainage of heavy clay soils, increases the moisture holding capacity of sand and adds high-quality nutrients. Incorporate generous supports into new beds and borders, or add an equal amount to half-removed soil in individual planting holes.
Wrong plant, wrong place
A plant is labeled as requiring “full sun” if planted in partial shade, and vice versa. And no matter how much you expect otherwise, “drought tolerant” will never mean “poorly drained, prefers wet soil.”
Picking plants best suited to your growing conditions will result in a better looking, healthier garden that requires less care and maintenance.
Multani retains soil moisture, suppresses weeds and is helpful to maintain soil temperature, so it is an essential component of every garden. Be careful mulching incorrectly can kill your plants.
Always opt for natural materials such as shredded bark, wood chips, straw or pine needles, which will enrich the soil as it rots.
Apply 2 to 3 inches of mulch around the plants regularly. Keep material 3 inches away from trunks and stems to avoid blocking air circulation and locking in moisture, which can result in rot.
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