- It all starts with soil. Healthy soil has always been the foundation for a successful garden. It may be possible to purchase good soil, but this is expensive and will quickly be spent within a few growing seasons, so learning how to nurture your own soil will save you both time and money in the long run. Never skimp on this step. Building your own soil from scratch can also be very satisfying. This means annual applications of organic matter and fertilizer. This is a step that is critical on an ongoing basis.
- Drainage cannot be overemphasized as it is the infrastructure of a good garden. Create ways to channel excess water and potentially store it for future use. This can be in ponds, berms, water and rain gardens or a bog feature planted with moisture loving vegetation.
- Don't be afraid to make changes. Not everything is going to work in your location and not everything will work in the next year which did in the previous. Some are changes made by nature - a year that has a distinctly different weather pattern from previous years. Some by new, invasive species moving into your area. Always be observant of these changes and modify your plant selections accordingly.
- Walk through your garden daily and look at what is going on. Plants will tell you if they are struggling long before they have reached the point of no return. Learn to recognize signs of stress and address them before it is too late.
- Visit other gardens, whether your neighbors', nurseries that specialize in localized plant species, and resources such as arboretums. This will allow you to observe some of the best horticultural designs and botanical collections in your area. Many local garden clubs have summer garden tours that will help you learn what is working and what isn't in your area.
- Never stop learning. Websites and books that are regionally appropriate are a great start. Other resources include universities, agricultural extension agents and online groups found on social media sties that will allow you to join and converse with master gardeners and others with a wealth of experience.
- Make it fun. Gardening should fuel both your body and your soul. It can sometimes be discouraging when things don't work out, but with some changes, they may work out next time. Or perhaps a different varietal of that particular plant - maybe one that works better in your specific garden - should be selected. There is definitely always an element of trial and error, so make it about the journey of learning as well as the end destination.
t lWhen compiling my blogs, the content always comes from personal experience and learnings - both good and bad. Two of the biggest challenges I've been facing over the last few years is unpredictabie weather and what seems to be an increasing number of pests. Both can be attributed to a number of reasons, but in the end, the reason doesn't matter, it's about how you deal with the blows. To help manage these variables, it is critical to focus on the basics. Many of these are covered in other entries in this blog, so you can check them out for more details, but here is a top level overview and/or reminder.
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