Keeping the garden healthy and productive is the ultimate goal of every gardener. So, here are some tips that can make garden maintenance even easier for you!
Fall and winter are the seasons where your plants are more prone to diseases and pest invasion. However, you should never lower your guard during the other seasons as well, since the pests are always present in your garden, waiting for a good opportunity to eat away what’s yours!
Remember, the better the ways you adopt for garden care, the higher will be the longevity and quality of your plants and produce. And the most important part of garden care is to ensure that each and every plant on your lawn is completely healthy and green.
Don’t forget that almost all plant’s diseases are contagious which means, if the disease will sprout in one plant, your whole crop will have to suffer. Thus, prevention is your best and most appropriate weapon in this plant Vs. pest wars.
To keep your garden in the healthiest condition and to increase the aesthetics and worth of your property, here are some tips you should consider.
Ways to keep your garden healthy
Buy the plants carefully
The very first disease prevention method is to avoid buying an unhealthy or infectious plant. We know that most gardeners prefer to start a plant with a transplant rather than a seed since it comes with less hassle and doesn’t consume too much time to yield.
But don’t forget, transplant also comes with huge risks of introducing infections and pests to the already established plants of your garden. However, not all of them are infectious and using some simple tricks, you can evaluate whether the offered plant is healthy or not. For example, if you observe any one of the following symptoms in a plant, take it as a red flag and don’t buy it.
Also, you shouldn’t buy a plant with long leggy stature. Instead, it’s better to buy a plant that is sturdy and compact since such specimens come with greater resilience against diseases.
Keep the pathogens away
Besides transmitting through the soil and root hairs, viruses could also transmit from one plant to another through insects and bugs. Not only these bugs could act as a carrier but some of them could eat away your entire plant in a day.
Such plant-eating bugs may start from borrowing the potting or garden soil to eat the root, after which, they begin to travel upward to chew leaves, buds, and flowers. Thus, if you suspect any such condition, look for the holes at the leaves’ surface.
However, you also need to learn about identifying the unhealthy bugs since some gardeners confuse them up with the healthy ones and do nothing to kill them out! Some common plants eating bugs, which are mighty enough to ruin your entire harvest are as follows
Besides these common bugs, some other insects like flea beetles, caterpillars, Japanese beetles, and tarnished plant bugs might also attack your garden plants. So, as soon as you observe one of them, flying over your plants, kill them up using specialised pest-killers or using home remedies.
For example, to get rid of aphid infestation, use a solution of water and soap and spray it all over the plant. Similarly, to kill spider mites, get a mixture of Neem oil and water and to solve the problem of mealybugs, get the Q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol and dab it everywhere you see bugs.
Keep the soil in top condition
It’s the soil from where your plants get their food, water, and everything they need. Thus, to keep your garden healthy, you need to keep the soil in top condition. Remember, soil tends to lose its nutrient content and fertility over time and to preserve the original soil quality, you need to add nutrients into it, externally.
For better results, bring new and fresh soil from the nurseries or local gardens for your lawn. Also, add a well-balanced, slow feeding fertiliser so your plants won’t have to suffer from nutrient deficiencies. However, check the pH of your soil before buying fertiliser since the full-strength fertilisers might overstress some plants.
It’s also great to add a layer of mulch on the topsoil since it will keep the weeds from sprouting out and nutrients and moisture from floating away. Always prefer organic mulch over synthetic one as it will act as a source of organic matter, once it starts to decay.
You can also use the yard waste as compost or mulch which, in turn, will elevate the temperature of the soil to kill all the pathogens lying there. However, do so only if you know the difference between infected and healthy plant debris. Remember, if you use infected yard waste as compost, it will reintroduce diseases into the remaining plants.
Clean your garden thoroughly
Just as proper hygiene is essential for us, it’s also important for your garden as well. Especially, during the fall, when the foliage starts to carpet every grass and leaf blade. If you don’t clean up the autumn mess thoroughly and let the fallen leaves stay where they are, they will cover the topsoil layer, locking the moisture inside, and preventing the air from passing through them.
All these things will combine to craft a very favourable growing medium for mould and fungus. Similarly, the already existing pathogens will feed on the dead leaves and other fall debris during frost and use it as insulation against cold. Later on, these pathogens will come out in the spring to attack the new plants and new leaves, in next spring.
Thus, it is important to clear the dead leaves before the spring hits your garden and by doing so, you can potentially decrease the risks of common garden diseases like daylily leaves streak, black-spotted rose, and iris leaves.
In addition to dead leaves, also brush out the weeds from your garden beds and around the trees, either manually or using synthetic weed killers. Otherwise, the weeds will suck out all the nutrients from the soil and leave your plants suffocating and suffering for food.
Not only the garden but you need to clean your gardening tools, especially the pruner and lawn scissors so you won’t transmit the bacteria and viruses from one plant to another.
Try the latest gardening hacks
There are still some gardeners who still stick to the traditional and old gardening methods like growing plants in in-ground beds, spacing the plants far, etc. However, the phrase of old is gold is not true when it comes to keeping your garden healthy.
Various innovations and advancements have been made to ease the gardening chores and improve the quality and quantity of produce. Even if you are currently obtaining well from your garden, seeking help from advancements will increase the goodness tenfold.
For example, as we mentioned before, the soil tends to lose its fertility over time. You can get raised garden beds and replace their soil every growing season to ensure original quality and fertility. Using the raised garden beds also make you able to grow a variety of veggies, fruits, and ornamental plants within the same yard, by keeping them separate from each other.
Moreover, it also provides better drainage and prevents weed and pest invasion. Similarly, the technique of intercropping is also getting quite popular among gardeners where we grow several types of plants altogether, which interact to support the growth of each other.
Growing multiple plants altogether also makes it easier to tackle the problem of weed removal, pathogen prevention, and attracting more pollinators to enhance productivity.
Prune and water your plants regularly
Water your plants optimally and regularly to keep your garden looking flourishing and thriving during all the times of the year. However, you should remember that you don’t have to overwater the soil since it could lead to mould formation or rot diseases.
Similarly, too dry soil can lead to stunted growth in your plants so try to keep the soil moist all the time. As a general rule, the best time to water the plants is when their topmost soil gets dry. Similarly, if the topsoil begins making cracks on it or gets lightened in colour, it’s also an indication that your plants need a good drink.
Also, the water should neither be too hot nor it should be too cold. The ideal temperature of the water is 68°F-20°C. Remember that too cold water can stun the growth while too hot water can damage the root system completely.
Besides watering your plants regularly, you also need to prune them at regular intervals to keep them growing exponentially. If you won’t shave the dead stems and branches off, they could attract pathogens and set your plant’s health at risk.