Frequently Asked Questions
Choosing the right plant is crucial for successful gardening. To choose a healthy plant, be it daffodils or succulents, first and foremost, you need to look for new growth that is firm. The plant should have normal shape and size and be thriving under the current weather condition.
If it’s a flowering plant, it needs to have new flowers or flower buds. Potted plants should come with roots that are well anchored in the soil. The roots in any case need to be abundant and firm. You may find that some roots are covered with an outer brown casing, but when the casing is removed, it should expose firm roots.
Avoid those plants that are droopy, and those with leaves that are wilted, discolored and dull. These are clear signs that the plant is either suffering from malnourishment or infected with bacteria or fungus. Remember that, a diseased plant can be revived in the future, but their roots may prevent it from taking up water in the first place.
Again, avoid plants where roots are encircled, entangled or consuming the entire size of the pot. This means the plant has been deprived of water and nutrients.
If there is one thing that a potential gardener should remember, it’s that the health of the soil plays crucial role in the growth of a plant. So, care for the soil, and you are caring for the roots, stems, plants and the garden itself.
It’s like a wild party going on down in the soil that constitutes the ground part of your garden. A healthy soil contains a high degree of nutrients, essential and beneficial microorganisms and much more. While the fertilizers provide plants with needed nutrients, microorganisms help accomplish a wide range of tasks, such as digesting the fertilizers and converting them into raw materials that the roots absorb.
Water is another essential ingredient for successful gardening. Watering is necessary for stiffening the plants and enabling them to stand upright. It is also necessary to enable many chemical processes inside the plant. Without water, plants are susceptible to wilting and collapsing. However, overwatering can ruin the plant and thus the garden, the obvious signs of which include decaying and brittle leaves.
Sunlight is as important as healthy soil and water. Light triggers the process of photosynthesis that fuels plants. You can introduce the best quality soil into your garden, but without enough sunlight, plants will stop photosynthesizing and instead use its own stored food to grow. As the reserve depletes, such plants eventually starve to death.
First, gather the tools and materials that are needed for potting a plant – correct size pot(s), hand trowel, knife, gloves, water, mixing container, organic fertilizer, potting soil and so on.
Place a metal or plastic screen at the base of the pot to prevent soil from leaking from the drainage hole. Mix soil and fertilizer in the mixing container. Pour water until the mixture is moist.
Remove the plant to be potted from another pot, container or ground. Shake the roots to remove excess soil. Unwind the roots if they are circling around. If necessary, cut the roots that are long or dangling beyond majority of the secondary or tertiary roots. A safe measure is to cut back up to 20 percent of the roots, which is necessary to stimulate the growth in the new pot.
Place enough soil mixture at the bottom of the pot, and place the plant spreading the roots evenly on all sides. Add the rest of the soil to fill the pot. Gently press the soil around the stem to make sure that it is even.
Pests and diseases are an indication that there is a nutritional deficiency in the soil that needs to be addressed. The goal of these pests is to target plants, make them decay and return them to the soil.
However, not all pests are dangerous and unhealthy to your garden. Unfortunately, most gardeners are taught to treat every moving thing they see as the start of a ‘garden apocalypse’. The plants are sprayed with every insecticide and pesticide that promises to get rid of the pest.
After a while, the pests that have initially been wiped out become resistant to insecticides and as a result come back in all their glory. The beneficial insects that were fragile and feeding on the bad bugs may have been killed in the process as well.
The trick is to use chemicals that are less toxic to the plants and environment. Spraying anything that moves is still a better option but only when they are threatening the eco-system. Using organic products will not only deal with harmful pests but retain the good bugs and leave less or no toxic residues.
Remember that it’s impossible to completely eradicate all the moving things around, but it’s possible to live with tolerable pest level and still have a thriving garden.
In order to make compost at home, you will need a composter. Many types of composters exist, such as wooden compost box, concrete open-top bins, plastic composters, tumbling composters or simply a compost pile on a bare land in a corner.
Start adding ingredients to the compost by making sure that you are following the right recipe for a healthy mixture as follows:
– 45 percent of green stuff, such as grass plant materials and kitchen waste
– 45 percent of brown materials, such as waste straw and dried leaves
– 10 percent of high nitrogen materials, such as legumes, hair and manure.
The compost will still work without the nitrogen materials, but it will take longer than expected for it to finish. Make sure to layer these materials. Water the compost just enough to make it damp. Depending on the climate, it may take anywhere from four weeks to a year to compost.