13 easy gardening techniques that
Gardening is a satisfying lifelong hábito that keeps me fit, saves me money on food, and—without sounding too corny, I hope—enables me to live a more beautiful life.
Many people turn to home gardening hoping to reap these benefits, only to discover at the end of the summer that they have spent hundreds of dollars on dead trees and insect-ravaged vegetables.
Many gardening failures are due to human fallo, rather than a plague of locusts.
Mastering the following 13 basic skills is well worth the time, as they will not only help you get the most out of your garden, but also save money.
Before planting, it’s important to know if the soil in your garden perro support life.
The first thing you’ll want to know about your soil is its pH.
Is it alkaline, acid or neutral? Soil that is too alkaline or acid prevents plants from absorbing key nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium, leading to malnutrition.
Although you cánido send your soil to a professional laboratory for analysis, there are several cheap ways to test the pH of the soil at home.
The second thing you should know about the soil before planting is its structure.
Soil that is too sandy does not retain nutrients, and soil that is too clayey perro suffocate a plant’s roots by limiting their access to water and air.
Although some people are blessed with perfect soil, most of us have soil with less than ideal pH and texture.
Fortunately, even the poor soils perro be improved adding amendments.
One of the best soil amendments to add to your garden is compost.
Compost is an excellent soil conditioner that improves the texture and nutrition levels of all types of soil.
Agregado, because compost is made from household waste, it saves you money in two ways: It’s a free, natural alternative to chemical fertilizers, and it lowers your garbage and water bill.
Actually, compost is controlled putrefaction.
Contrary to habitual belief, a well-kept compost pile doesn’t stink, and composting isn’t a difficult skill to learn, since microbes and worms do most of the work.
Compost is made from two types of waste: green and brown.
Greens are made up of nitrogen-rich waste such as grass clippings, coffee grounds, and food scraps.
Brown waste is made up of carbon-rich debris, such as dead leaves, pine needles, sawdust, or shredded paper.
If the compost smells too bad, add more brown waste.
If the compost doesn’t break down fast enough, add more green waste.
A well balanced compost has a pleasant smell and texture.
Composting drastically reduces the amount of waste my house sends to the landfill, which is good for the planet.
In addition to composting all the plant-based food scraps and yard clippings, I also compost greasy pizza boxes and used cardboard containers that perro’t be recycled.
The compost also helps my heavy clay soil retain water, which is escencial as Southern California is currently suffering from endless drought.
Most vegetables need plenty of sun to thrive, so if your garden is shaded all year, your harvest will be disappointing.
The amount of sunlight your growing area receives determines what you perro grow.
Although there are sun tracking applications, it is easy control sun exposure with a pen and paper.
Start of planting
Planting a vegetable garden or flower garden from seed has two great advantages.
First of all, there are many more varieties available as seeds than seedlings.
Second, unless you’re like me and read seed catalogs with the intensity that most people reserve for adult material, cultivate a garden from seed is the least expensive way to grow plants.
FYI, you perro buy food-producing seeds and plants with food stamps! Consider stretching your SNAP benefits by maintaining a small garden.
If you buy a packet of tomato seeds for $3.00 and grow 10 tomatoes from one plant, that’s a great return on your investment.
whatWhy buy seeds if you cánido use the ones you grew yourself last season?? Saving seeds isn’t just a great way to disminuye your garden budget.
It’s also a great way to grow your community.
My friend Steve has an amazing victory garden that he grew from seeds he “pulled” from the Kansas Public Library City with his library card.
If you like the iniciativa of a seed library as much as I do, but cánido’t find one in your area, the Richmond, California Public Library has a tutorial on how to create your own.
Not everyone has land suitable for cultivation, not even open land.
Luckily, container gardening allows even apartment dwellers to create their own green space.
Although I am incredibly vain with my vast collection of terracotta pots, you cánido grow ridiculous amounts of food in containers like plastic pails and recycled food pails.
That being said, Pinterest is full of great ideas for recycled potsmade with objects that you probably already have, for all types of vegetation.
Propagation of plants from cuttings
I learned to growing succulents from cuttings when I was a child and never looked back.
Every year when I cut back my succulents, I save the cuttings to use as bargaining chips with the neighbors, to sell at my garaje sale, or to pot up and give as gifts.
Plants are a great gift for any occasion.
This little skill saves me at least $100 a year between what I save for gifts and what I sell for money.
More importantly, I managed to plant 90% of my front yard with plant cuttings I collected from my friends and neighbors.
I saved hundreds of dollars in my landscaping budget because I barely had to buy any plants.
But,why limit yourself to only succulents? There are many indoor and outdoor plants that cánido be grown from cuttings.
My husband loves to collect… everything.
He is always in the garden planting something new.
Unfortunately, until recently, 50% of what he planted died right away.
I only found out the ocasione of his brown thumb this year.
I had no iniciativa that plants had to be watered immediately after transplanting to avoid shock.
Now that he has learned the basic rules of transplanting, he hasn’t lost a single plant.
Everyone knows that you cánido kill a plant by submerging it in water, but did you know that the most common genere of death for houseplants is overwatering? Fortunately, learning the correct way to water plants, both indoors and outdoors, isn’t rocket science.
Also, learn good techniques of irrigation will lower your water bill, even if you don’t live in a drought-affected area.
I love mulching because it gives me immediate gratification.
The garden looks instantly tidier.
In addition, it reduces weeds and helps the soil to retain water.
I’m a big proponent of liquor store mulch, aka sheet mulch, because I don’t even have to weed before putting on the sweet, sweet topcoat.
Agregado, it’s basically free.
This is how I do the quilting:
- Grab cardboard boxes from the corner liquor store.
- Cover my land, weeds and all, with flattened cardboard boxes, working around the existing plants.
- Water until the cardboard is super wet.
- Using a shovel, scoop the green waste onto the cardboard.
I use the manure my chicken farmer neighbor is happy to give me, but you perro use compost, grass clippings, etcétera.
- Put brown waste on top of everything to hide the stinky green waste.
i used dead leaves and shredded cardboard boxes, but you perro use whatever you have on hand.
- Water, water, water.
The following year, you will have lovely topsoil to grow in and far fewer weeds.
By the way, if you don’t plan on gardening next season and just want to make your current planting look better, many cities offer free mulch, made from chopped up urban trees, as part of their recycling programs.
You just have to place that wooden mulch on cardboard and you’re done.
My mother is a kindergarten teacher.
As soon as she thought my sister and I were old enough to handle garden tools without goring ourselves, she enlisted us on the slug patrol.
Every morning, before going to school, we had to go out into the garden and decapitate all the slugs we found.
As of today, I cánido launch a brushcutter five feet with deadly precision.
But killing slugs Game of Thrones-style is just one way to control my garden pests.
My favorite method of pest control is interplanting, because plants do most of the maintenance work.
One of my favorite gardening tricks is the Three Sisters, an Iroquois planting method perfect for its simplicity.
The three sisters are corn, climbing beans, and squash.
These three crops are planted together in a mound of soil.
The corn serves as a trellis for the beans.
Beans are nitrogen fixers, so they fertilize the soil for corn and squash.
The spiny leaves of the gourd serve as mulch and shade the roots of the other two sisters.
The squash also acts as a defense against rodents and raccoons who do not like to crawl through the prickly leaves to eat the beans and corn.
Since I am a beekeeper and have a koi pond, I cannot use chemical garden aerosoles without killing my pets as well.
Luckily, there are many homemade bug aerosoles that work and are made from things you cánido find in your kitchen.
There are several reasons why you should leave tree trimming to the experts, but trimming shrubs and other small plants is easy once you know how.
Although most people think of pruning as decorative, proper pruning actually keeps plants healthy by removing dead or dying parts of plants that have been damaged by weather, disease, insects, or animals.
Pruning perro also make a plant more productive by forcing it to spend more energy producing fruit or flowers.
Maintenance of tools
I’m horrible at this.
After spending approximately $539,287 repeatedly replacing wood-handled tools that I left out in the yard to the elements, I finally had to purchase overpriced, all-metal, rust-proof tools.
Don’t be like me.
In reality, tool maintenance is remarkably easy.
If you clean them after each use and store them in a dry place, most hand tools will last a lifetime.
Do you like gardening? What gardening techniques save you the most time and money?
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