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GARDENING GUIDELINES

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  by Jennifer Jones

The home garden, whatever shape or size, has long been regarded as a place of beauty and relaxation. The colors, the scents, and the direct connection with Mother Nature are universally appealing. However, for some homeowners, planting and maintaining even the smallest garden can be an overwhelming chore. Finding the right plants, soil, moisture, light, shade, and temperature can turn into a complicated balancing game for a new green thumb. Before you find yourself overwhelmed, here are some gardening guidelines that can get you on the path to success.

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  • Space – The first thing to look at when planning a garden is the issue of space. Where are these plants going to live? There are numerous varieties of pots, raised beds, garden plots, and window boxes that can be used to house gardens of many kinds. There is no best way or place- it simply boils down to what is most available to you.

  • Nutrition – The soil the plants live in is directly responsible for their nourishment. Soils from different areas have different compositions and can restrict what may grow. It can be beneficial to have soil tests performed on your garden plot. Some plots may need supplements mixed in with the soil to create a habitable plot. Raised garden beds and pots can use potting mixtures to cater to specific plants.

  • Light & Temperature – Though you may want to adorn your garden with a favorite flower, your climate may not be as accommodating. Every plant has minimum and maximum temperature and light tolerance.

  • Water – Like light and temperature, every plant has a different need when it comes to watering. This is usually the gardening chore that wears on even the hardiest gardener: many plants require watering daily or more often and can be time-consuming.

Now that you know what to consider when it comes to choosing plants, it is time for a reality check. Starting small is a good idea the first time around. Though 20 to 30 square feet may not seem like much, it can be disastrous to take on more than can be maintained. The first year requires more work preparing the soil and is the time for becoming familiar with what works and what is liked. It is also a good idea to plan your garden on paper and look it over with friends or neighbors who have gardening experience. Experienced gardeners typically love to share advice and resources and can be invaluable to beginners.  With the right information, your garden will certainly blossom before your eyes.

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