Maintaining Proper Garden Maintenance

The quality and longevity of your plants, fruits, and vegetables can be improved with proper garden maintenance. Nearly every plant need a few hours of direct sunlight, but different plant types require varied levels of care. It’s critical to learn how to properly care for your garden if you want your outdoor produce and gorgeous flowers to weather the seasons.

Your garden may be the center of your home, its front lawn and garden, but it isn’t the entire house. Even if you only have a small balcony, your garden is a consideration, even if you only have a small window seat. Your garden is susceptible to harsh winter weather, so proper garden maintenance is critical.

In many areas, the first snow of the season is a good time to start fertilizing. You should work your way through your supply of fertilizer during fall and winter, while your plants are protected from the cold.

Before starting fertilizer, you should remove any weeds and/or dead leaves. It’s best to get rid of weeds first. The best time to remove weeds is in the early morning, before the sun has a chance to warm things up. Then, rake away the debris, and leave the leaves and weeds behind, to rot away. You can also use a hand fork to loosen the dirt, but this may damage the roots.

After you’ve got rid of weeds, cut the grass, if it’s not freshly cut. It’s important to cut only deep enough to remove the leaves and stems. A safety rule to remember is never cut close to the top of the grass clump. This may cause the clump to collapse. Now is also a good time to repot your plants. The best time for you to repot your plants is in the early fall or early spring. It’s more convenient for you, since it’s when you are most likely to be around, and you have the tools on hand. It’s also a good time for you since this is when you’ll have less competition from squirrels, birds, and other garden visitors.

Before fertilizing, it’s a good time to work in compost. Add it a layer of well-decayed leaves or other organic matter. A few inches of compost is good. Make sure you cover the compost with soil, so you can break down the compost easier. After fertilizing, you can move the compost to the center of your garden, or you can layer it on the outer edges of your garden, so there will be room on each edge for additional grass or other plants.

Now’s also a good time to prune any dead foliage. It’s important to avoid pruning before winter, since you’ll introduce competition for the nutrients that are in dead foliage. You can also try thinning your plants to encourage bushy growth. You can also do your dead-heading in late fall or early winter.

Planting Your Grass Seed

After your grass is planted, you can plant your seeds. You can either plant your seeds in seed trays or you can lay your seed trays on trays-fulls of soil and then plant your seed trays in the appropriate spot in the garden. Be sure to wet the seed bed well before you plant your seeds in the soil. Don’t just throw your trays in the ground. Wet the soil well and add some compost. You can now plant your seeds throughly and keep them moist until they germinate.

Winter Maintenance

In late fall, be sure to cut back any dead or dying grass clumps that are not bearing any new growth. You can also remove any dead, damaged or diseased bark. This is a good time to inspect your bark for insects or disease.

In the late winter, you can spread a good layer of mulch over your seedlings to conserve moisture. It’s also a good time to till your garden soil.

Starting Spring Seeds

Before spring arrives, you should transplant your seedlings in late winter or early spring. If you are transplanting seeds, then in the fall, you should transplant your seeds throughly and cover them with 6-8 inches of compost or mulch to conserve moisture. You can now mulch your seeds.

Tips

Always water your seedlings in the morning so that they can go to sleep for sleep. This way they will wake up refreshed when they get a drink.

If you are transplanting seeds then when you put them in the small container, press the seeds in to the bottom of the container. Then when you water them, water the container until the seeds are covered. Be sure to do this water their container well. This will make them rootbound and will save you money on watering.

Don’t take your perennials too far north. They are delicate and their root system may not be able to grow any farther north than that.

You can also plant seeds from your perennial in cold frames. This way you can take the danger of frost away.

Pruning and Cutting

By mid spring, your perennial may be showing signs of winter stress. I would take a pruning shears and slice the tips of the evergreens and shrubs by about 1/4″. By the end of the month, your plants will be in better shape. You may also take a small pair of scissors and prune away any dead or weak branches.

Now it’s time to cut back any newly planted bulbs by 1/2″. You can use a small pair of garden scissors and cut through the leaf stems of new bulbs, but not the bulbs themselves. This will make sure they go into the garden free from disease.

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