Top 5 Gardening Tips

May 7, 2007

You love the idea of growing a garden full of vegetables, flowers, fruits, and herbs, but aren’t excited about pulling weeds, applying chemical pesticides, back-breaking digging, plants that don’t grow well, or toiling away under the merciless summer sun.

Well here are my Top 5 Gardening Tips that are guaranteed to ease the pains and multiply the enjoyment and satisfaction that you will reap from growing an incredibly attractive and productive garden.

1st Gardening Tip: Grow Weed-less

Weed Free Garden BedDon’t make the mistake of waiting until the weeds are established before taking action. If that’s your strategy then you’re bound to spend wasted hours of pulling and hoeing in a vain attempt to catch up with overgrown weeds.

Know thy enemy! Being able to identify your weeds from the moment they germinate will enable you to eliminate them when they are young and easier to control. At that time a light cultivation of the soil’s crust is sufficient to kill most sprouting weeds.

Other weed control techniques include using organic mulches, limiting or eliminating tilling, never allowing bare soil to be exposed, and my favorite; using a living mulch of cultivated crops to deprive weeds of the favorable conditions that they need to germinate and grow.

Also, be sure that you NEVER allow weeds to flower or set seeds in or near the garden. Follow these simple suggestions and over time you will spend less time weeding and more time growing and enjoying your garden.

2nd Gardening Tip: Go Organic

Edible Nasturtium FlowersOrganically grown has finally gone mainstream and I’m not convinced whether that’s a good thing. Look around and you’ll find the term “organic” on everything from food and clothing to cleaning products and cosmetics.

The popularity and marketability of organically grown products has created shortages and driven up prices but you can easily grow your own organic produce. The key to organic gardening is to start by improving your soil through the addition of well-composted organic matter.

Healthy soil will promote healthy plants that are more resistant and less prone to problems with insects and diseases. There are also natural methods and products available to deal with pests in a manner that is safe and less harmful to us and the environment.

Pick up a good book on organic gardening or browse websites such as this one that will provide you with tips and information to grow productive gardens without the use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides.

3rd Gardening Tip: Switch to Raised Beds

Raised Garden Bed of GreensIf you haven’t made the switch yet, then now is the perfect time to convert your garden into convenient and productive raised beds. Raised beds will maximize your growing area and provide a gardening environment that your plants will thrive in.

It’s not difficult to raise plants in wide blocks rather than rows and the benefits are all-encompassing: increased production, fewer weeds, better drainage and moisture retention, more room for plants, no resources are wasted on non-productive space, and most importantly you’ll see healthier, happier plants.

Raised beds will also assist in developing a loose, fertile, soil that is easy to maintain and prepare for planting. You can say farewell to that tiller, and hello to an easier way of gardening that will save time and effort in caring for your garden.

No matter what type of plants you grow, I’m willing to bet that they will be more productive and lend themselves to a much more attractive garden when grown in raised beds instead of the typical rows of an ordinary garden patch.

4th Gardening Tip: Try Heirloom Varieties

Heirloom Fish PeppersWhatever the crop there’s a whole world of interesting old-fashioned heirloom, antique, and historical seeds and plants for you to choose from. Forget the hybrid, patented, and genetically engineered plant varieties; I’ll stick with the good old heirlooms.

Want to add interest to your garden and excitement to the dinner table? How about growing veggies and fruits in sizes, shapes, and colors that you won’t find at your local grocer? Want to experience the rich flavors that your great grandparents relished? Then it’s time to discover the fascinating world of heirloom varieties!

There are brilliant purple beans, giant green eggplants, delicious golden beets, striped tomatoes, white cumbers, gourmet lettuces, ornamental palm kales, nutritious red carrots, exotic melons, fragrant old-fashioned flowers, and hundreds of other unique plants that you have never seen or tasted.

5th Gardening Tip: Stretch Your Growing Seasons

Fall Garden in NovemberThere’s no rule that says a garden has to stop producing as summer comes to an end. With a little planning you can extend your gardening far into the fall months. I routinely harvest fresh produce when other gardeners in my area can only look forward to next spring.

If you take advantage of the opportunity you’ll find that fall gardening can actually be easier than growing during the summer season. There are few insects to contend with, less weed growth, and you can frequently get by without watering the garden at all.

There are fall vegetables, flowers, and herbs such as calendula, kale, broccoli, mums, ornamental cabbages, leeks, and Mexican Sage that will appreciate a break from the summer heat just as much as you will.

Best of all you get to extend your gardening activities and share the sights and harvests beyond summer’s end. There are also plants such as garlic, leafy greens, pansies, shallots, and leeks that can be planted in the fall to be enjoyed the following spring or summer.

Those are my top 5 gardening tips, how about sharing a few of your own? This post was entered as part of the ProBlogger “Top 5” Group Writing Project. You can create a Top 5 List of your own or add your favorite gardening tip in the comment section below.

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