Dear Friends: Just as it happened a couple weeks ago, my computer, browser, dial-up connection, or ALL THREE has been as slow as a slug crossing the garden path—thus no posting until this evening. I logged in many times off and on since Monday, then waited an hour or so hoping the posting page (where I upload the articles and photos to publish) would open, but no luck. While I apologize, I also ask that you understand this could happen again. Lately, it seems to happen more often. If I had tech skills, the slug (or slugs) causing all the problems would never make it across the path. Instead, it would see the bottom of my old garden shoe.
Whether you’re a notice, passionate or occasional gardener, by following a few steps you can keep your plants looking their best. These simple effective steps introduce you to the basics of healthy plants that will reward you for years to come.
- Zone: Select plants for your zone by buying from local nurseries. Utilize the knowledge of nursery persons, neighbors, garden club members, cooperative extension agents, and master gardeners.
- Size: Minimize pruning by placing plants and trees where they have ample growing space for maturity, away from buildings and overhead utility lines. Avoid overcrowding plants so they don’t have to fight for nutrients.
- Exposure: Sufficient light is one of the most important elements to plant growth. Improper light duration and magnitude can stunt growth, burn foliage, or even kill plants and trees.
- Temperature: Select plants that will survive in your areas lowest winter temperatures. Most plant tags provide cold/heat zone data listing minimum hardiness and heat tolerance temperatures.
- Water: It’s no secret plants can’t live without moisture. When and how much water a plant needs will vary according to the variety and soil type. Don’t put water-loving plants and trees in an area with little water or drought resistant plants in soil with poor drainage. Follow a regular water schedule using timers wherever possible.
- Nutrition: Nutrients is crucial to plant health. Your soil’s texture and fertility will determine how much and what you need to add for moisture retention, proper drainage, or organic material. A simple soil test kit (available at most nurseries) will provide data on your soil’s composition. The three main ingredients plants need are: Nitrogen (N) promotes vigorous leaf growth. Phosphorus (P) encourages good development of roots, flowers, and fruit. Potassium (K) promotes cell division and strong stems.
Follow the above tips and your plants will give you satisfying results year after year.