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This is another blog post inspired by a class I recently took at Armstrong Garden Centers. Every gardener needs a refresher course, right? For those of you who are beginners or need some reminders, here are gardening tips for beginners.
How to Determine Your Soil Type
Much of the success of how well your plants will grow is based on the type of soil you have. If you are gardening from the ground, figure out the type of dirt you have to work with. Here in Southern California, we have the best weather to grow in, but the worst soil to plant in, which is clay.
If you plan on starting a garden all in pots, this is a great choice for beginners, since you have more control over the type of dirt to grow your plants in. Since my garden is located on a balcony, all my plants are in pots, so this makes it easy to determine the soil type.
How to Improve Your Soil
First of all, know what kind of soil you have to work with (see above). Remember, if your soil isn’t good, your plants are going to die. To get your ground dirt ready for plants, you want to mix a planting mix with the native soil. There are organic and synthetic types.
Some people here choose to get rid of all the native soil and replace with planting mix. The problem with this is that the planting mix will eventually convert back to native soil. But. the choice is up to you.
The Difference Between Planting Mix and Potting Soil
There are many different types of dirt to choose from, but the two basic kinds are planting mix and potting soil. Planting mix is if you are planning to garden with the native soil in your yard. You mix up the native soil and plant mix for your plants to grow in. Potting soil is designed for plants in pots. You will want to replace the dirt in pots from time to time, but you don’t have to mix it with anything.
How to Determine Sunlight
Figuring out how much sunlight certain areas of your yard gets throughout the year can be tricky. During spring and summer, my balcony is in full sun to part shade. This time of year, during the fall and winter months, my balcony is in part to full shade. This can make gardening tricky and challenging, but most of my plants just slow down a bit during the colder months with less light.
It might take some time and trial and error to figure out where to grow certain plants in your yard, but that is part of the fun of gardening!
How to Choose a Plant
There are several things to thinking about when choosing a plant for your garden. You want to consider how much sun it will need, how tall and wide it will get, and how much space it needs. All of these factors will determine the best placement for your new plant.
General Planting Guidelines
Make sure to read the label on your plant to ensure it thrives where you plant it. You also want to think about if its an annual or perennial. Annuals only live for one season. You will want to replace these every few months. Many flowers are annuals. These plants are great for containers. Perennials can last several years, so really think about where you want to plant one of these before doing so.
When to Water
Watering is another tricky part of gardening. Many people tend to over water their plants. Too much water can actually kill a plant. Its best to water plenty at one time, but to water less often. Containers need more watering than ground plants, typically. Some plants don’t need as much water as others, such as desert plants, also called succulents.
Gardening Tips for Beginners
This is just a general guide to starting a garden, as well as a reminder for those who have been gardening for a while. To get more details on specific plants, please search around the site. Most of the plants I feature here are container-friendly plants, but most will grow in other places as well. Happy gardening!
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