Flourish With These 9 Garden Maintenance Tips

The Importance of Proper Garden Maintenance

There are a few things out there that look more impressive than a fully-grown garden with all the gardener's favourite plants. Flower gardens are beautiful whether they have the beauty of roses, the mighty sunflower, or a bunch of perennials that keep coming back. Not to be outdone, however, vegetable gardens are also great. No carrot, tomato or cucumber tastes better than the one you've grown yourself. Some gardens even have a mixture of both types of plants, allowing you to get the best of both worlds.

It is important to keep in mind that getting a garden into a fully functioning state can be very challenging, especially for new gardeners. However, skipping garden maintenance could lead to seeing your flowerbed overrun with Creeping Charlies that cause your flowers to wilt or finding your vegetable garden unable to bear any delicious bounty. While it's smart to financially protect yourself from theft and disaster with garden insurance, minimizing the chances of something going wrong is also important. A handful of garden maintenance tips can help increase the odds of your garden fully sprouting into something you can take pride in.

9 Garden Maintenance Tips

Regular maintenance is the key to making anything stay sustained long-term. Creating a healthy garden is no different. While it is a fool's errand to completely control nature since life always finds a way, you can follow some garden maintenance tips to hold it at bay just long enough to allow a small batch of land to flourish for the entire growing season. 

1. Fertilizing 

It is important that you give your plants the right nutrients. A fertilizer is the answer to this, providing the important nutrients that plants need to grow. The three nutrients contained in most fertilizers are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Nitrogen helps plants grow leaves and kick-starts overall plant growth while also helping with photosynthesis, which is how plants absorb sunlight. Phosphorus helps plants grow their flowers and roots and also helps them grow precious fruit or vegetables. Potassium makes plants more resilient to stresses such as diseases and drought.

Keep in mind that different plants require different fertilizers to grow the proper type and amount of fertilizer and the proper time to apply fertilizer for each plant. Placing plants with the same fertilization requirements together is recommended and will make things easier later in the year. For example, tomatoes require fertilizer with more phosphorus to help them grow their flowers, which the tomatoes themselves grow from. 

2. Soil Care

With gardens literally built from the ground up, a vital part of garden maintenance is to ensure there is healthy soil. It is recommended that you set walking paths so you don't trample the seeds or make the soil uneven. Overusing your rototiller can lead to making the soil too compact, especially if you step on the soil or water it immediately after. Compact soil can lead to water not seeping through to reach the seed or can cause the water to gather in pods, meaning these areas will have too much water, and others will have too little.

It is also an important part of garden maintenance to clear debris regularly. This is especially important before rototilling for safety purposes. It's also important to remember not to overuse pesticides on the soil, as they have side effects that often lead to damaging the plants or keeping away helpful insects, such as pollinators. 

3. Watering

It might not seem like a large revelation to hear that water is an important part of garden maintenance. While a watering can or hose isn't exactly a high-tech device that takes training to fully operate, watering shouldn't be done haphazardly. 

You should water close to the roots. This ensures that water reaches the roots and keeps the plants' leaves dry. Since wet leaves can lead to diseases and mildew, keeping them dry is very important. It is also important to water either later at night or early in the morning, as this will lead to less water evaporating. It is also better to water more frequently during drier times of year to help make up for the lack of rain.

While it might seem to make more sense to sprinkle smaller amounts of water every now and then, it is better to water much more thoroughly but less often, as it achieves an underappreciated part of garden maintenance by encouraging the plants to grow deeper roots. 

4. Mulching

Mulch is a layer of organic material applied over the soil, and mulching is the act of adding this layer manually. While this might not seem to be very useful on the surface, applying it is a very beneficial act of garden maintenance in multiple ways. It helps keep the soil moist, can make the area more aesthetic to look at, can help block the growth of weeds, and is a natural way to help keep the soil in a healthy state.

While natural things like fallen leaves can provide some mulch, you will likely need to add some yourself. Wood chips are very common to add, as are chopped leaves, leftover compost, lawn trimmings, pine needles, straw, and shredded wood. 

5. Weeding 

Although mulching is likely to lower the number of weeds that grow in your garden, it is unlikely to reduce the number to zero. Invasive plants compete with the ones you want to grow by competing for nutrients, water and light. They also take up space your plants need to grow and spread diseases, meaning that weed control is an important aspect of garden maintenance.

There are a number of ways to remove weeds. The most basic is removing them by hand. You can also use tools, such as a garden hoe, shovel or trowel, to pull the things out. Remember, though, that when you are weeding, you must also remove the roots; otherwise, they will grow back. Chemicals can also be used, but careful not to hit other plants, as that could kill them as well.

6. Composting

Compost is the act of turning organic materials into useful soil or mulch. This can save you some money on garden maintenance and let you use some items you were going to throw out and get some use out of them. The things that jump to mind for many people when they think of compost include leaves, twigs, grass clippings, dead plants, and the remains of fruits and vegetables. All of these are great, but much more can be used. Items like eggshells, shredded paper, droppings from your pets, jack-O-lanterns, nail clippings, stale or mouldy grains, tea bags and used napkins can all be added to compost. While weeds can be added to your compost, you have to remember that they must be seedless, or your compost must have the right conditions to kill said seeds before they grow. Not being careful will lead to some garden maintenance problems later down the line.

7. Pruning, Trimming And Deadheading

These garden maintenance tasks might seem like they harm your plants. However, these acts can help your plants grow a lot better.

Trimming refers to cutting off overgrown leaves or shaping certain plants, usually a hedge or shrub, to be more aesthetically pleasing. Pruning is very similar, and many people mistakenly think it is the same. However, pruning often has a very specific purpose. It's meant to cut off diseased branches or leaves and is done to prevent the disease from spreading to the rest of the plant. These are most often done to trees as well. When dealing with more traditional plants and trees, it's best to use scissors or other manual cutting tools. However, power tools can be used when hedge-trimming

Deadheading refers to the process of cutting off the dead, flowered parts of a plant. This is important to stop the dead or dying part of the plant from wasting vital nutrients, helping the plant last longer.

It's important to note that parts trimmed or pruned off, and deadheads can be added to compost, allowing them to help your garden once again.

8. Pest Control

While many humans see vegetables as delicious and nutritious, we have to remember that other creatures agree with us. Rabbits, squirrels, birds, chipmunks, skunks and more all share our love of salad. Even several insects like aphids can do some damage in large numbers. An important part of garden maintenance is keeping these hungry fellows away.

There are a few ways you can keep animals out. Sometimes, a barrier can physically make reaching the garden impossible for certain creatures. Other ideas include putting in plants that some creatures won't enjoy eating. You can also use an elaborate bluff to trick animals into thinking there's danger nearby. Here is a list of ideas to help with pest control:

  • A fence can keep certain animals out.
  • A wire cloche can protect a specific plant that appears to be a target.
  • Plants that taste bad can stop certain animals from returning.
  • A fake owl might scare away certain pests. Note that this should be moved so that pests don't catch on that the owl is fake.
  • A bird feeder may provide an alternative source, giving the pests something to eat and ensuring they don't harm your garden.
  • Wind chimes can fool an animal into thinking a human or predator is nearby.
  • Ultrasonic repellants create a high-frequency sound that humans can't hear to scare off animals.
  • Spicy plants mixed in can give a nasty surprise to many animals and get them to stop returning.
  • Having a raised flower bed can make certain plants inaccessible to smaller creatures.

If all else fails, there are companies that will get rid of creatures for you. Many of these companies also take care not to harm the animals while providing their service if that is of concern to you.

9. Clean Tools And Equipment

As many other points have mentioned, your tools are very helpful in assisting with many of these tasks. However, they can't do their job of helping with your garden maintenance if they are poorly maintained themselves. Be sure to keep your blades sharp and everything reasonably clean while also doing anything you can to prevent breakage.

Remember To Love Your Garden

While keeping a thriving garden does require a lot of work, garden maintenance should be something every gardener should enjoy. It's a true labour of love and gives the result of a beautiful landscape that you can truly call your own.

This content is written by our Morison Insurance team. All information posted is merely for educational and informational purposes. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice. Should you decide to act upon any information in this article, you do so at your own risk. While the information on this website has been verified to the best of our abilities, we cannot guarantee that there are no mistakes or errors.

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