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How To Garden Like A Pro

Alivia Whitaker | Apr 26, 2018

If you want to learn how to garden like a pro there are a few basics that will help you get started!  We’ve given you all the how to’s on the most crucial parts of pro-gardening to get you going and gardening like a pro!

Prepare The Plot

Preparation is usually the key for success in any endeavor and gardening is no exception. If you want to know how to garden like a pro  the first step is prepare properly.

The National Gardening Association lays out how to properly prepare any gardening area on their website:

Choose the spot

Vegetable gardens and most flowerbeds require at least 6 hours of full sun each day. Choose a level spot -- either natural or terraced -- that has well-drained soil, if possible (see Testing Soil Drainage). Thick grass or vigorous weed growth usually indicate soil drainage and nutrient levels that will support healthy garden plants.

Mark the boundaries

Outline the new garden plot with string and stakes, a hose, or a line of powdered limestone.

Eliminate the competition

Remove existing lawn by slicing under the sod with a spade and cutting it into manageable pieces. Add the pieces to your compost or use it to patch bare spots elsewhere. Kill weeds with glyphosate herbicide, pull them by hand, or chop them with a hoe or mattock and rake them up. If time permits, you can smother grass and weeds with old carpeting or black plastic anchored to the ground. For best results, leave the covering in place for several weeks of hot weather.

Test the soil

Send a sample of garden soil to a private or cooperative extension office soil-testing lab for nutrient and pH analysis. Call the lab or a local garden center for a collection kit and instructions on how to collect the sample. Test results will tell you which minerals and pH amendments your soil needs to grow healthy vegetables and flowers.

Turn the soil

Work the amendments into the top 6 to 12 inches of soil with a rototiller or garden fork. Break up large clods and remove rocks and roots. Work the soil only when it is dry enough to crumble easily after squeezing - never when it is saturated with water.”

Fertilize

Fertilizing may seem like a basic point when talking about how to garden like a pro but many people skip this step in their own gardens or lawns.

Why Is Fertilizing So Crucial?

The number one reason fertilizing is so important is to add nutrients back into the soil.  Without Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium in the soil plants simply can’t grow properly.   Other benefits of fertilizing including controlling weeds by taking them out in the first place, as well as making the soil more uniform, firm and less likely to puddle or have patches.

The National Gardening Association gives tips on fertilizing:

“Take a soil sample from your lawn to a garden center or testing lab for analysis every three to four years to find out the correct amount of nutrients and other additives, such as lime, sulfur, or gypsum, your lawn needs.

Fertilize during the lawn's most active growth periods: spring and fall in cool climates and early and late summer in warm climates. Avoid fertilizing during very hot weather, when many grass lawns are essentially dormant.”

Choose the Best Plants In The Best Locations

Once you’ve prepared your plot and fertilized it’s not enough to simply start planting!  If you really want to know how to garden like a pro - make wise planting choices.  What you choose to plant and where to plant it are major factors in the success of any landscaping or gardening.

What will grow well in your yard is dependent upon many factors.  Things like region, climate, weather and sun exposure just to name a few.

The National Gardening Association provides what are called USDA Hardiness Zone Finders to help you know what best to plant in your region.  About this they said,

“Gardeners need a way to compare their garden climates with the climate where a plant is known to grow well. That's why climate zone maps were created. Zone maps are tools that show where various permanent landscape plants can adapt. If you want a shrub, perennial, or tree to survive and grow year after year, the plant must tolerate year-round conditions in your area, such as the lowest and highest temperatures and the amount and distribution of rainfall.”

Find the USDA Hardiness Zone Finder HEREand the handy Gardener’s Dictionary HERE

If you follow these tools and steps we're sure they will help you learn how to garden like a pro !

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