7 fresh ideas for your garden

-Sweta Manandhar

Even planting just a tree or two gives more life to your home. Having a garden will not only make your surrounding look fresh and lively, it will bestow a feeling of serenity within yourself too.

1. Examine the plants before buying
Avoid introducing disease in your garden. Nobody wants a new plant to get a disease and start spreading it out throughout the garden; you know how much extra work it’s going to add to your already existing to-do-list. Collect books, magazines, and catalogs, and talk to an expert to know what a healthy plant looks like. Avoid plants with dead spots, rotted stems, and insects to avoid spreading disease to your healthy plants; besides, such plants are sometimes hard to get rid of. Check the tops of the plants and inspect the root quality. Turn the pot upside down and shake the plant loose to loosen the roots from the pot. The roots should be firm and white; dark mushy roots aren’t good. Checking the roots is a must, because even if the top seems healthy, a rotted root kills a plant.

2. Using the correct fertilizer
Fertilizing the plants too much can burn the roots and reduces their ability to absorb water, which makes the plant more prone to stress from drought, cold, and heat. Smaller plants starved for nutrients get badly affected by leaf spots while a stronger plant can fight off diseases. Overuse of fertilizers can cause stress to plants. Get a soil test to get accurate information.

3. Trim damaged limbs at the right time
Trees and shrubs should be trimmed in late winter rather than waiting until spring. Wounded limbs become infected over winter which establishes disease when the plant is alive. Trimming during late winter prevents disease from spreading to new plants. It is better to trim a broken limb during late winter rather than ignoring it until the spring even if the late winter storms cause new damage. Use sharp tools to make a clean cut which will heal rapidly.

4. Disease resistant varieties
Disease-resistant plants get sick with a particular problem but will fight off the disease.Disease-resistance is rarely identified on plants, which is why you will probably not get information when looking for such code on flowers. Nursery employees and fellow gardeners can help you identify the best and most resistant varieties. Refer to books and catalogs to find disease resistant plants. All materials in the compost pile decompose at the same rate, and infected plants that haven’t undergone this process will introduce disease to your garden. So, disposing waste from the yard as soon as possible will help in reducing the disease from occurring in the first place.

5. Site plants properly
Using plants appropriate for your site helps in successful gardening. Shade-loving plants will grow poorly and get easily attacked by diseases if planted under full sun. Plants have immunity similar to humans’ immune system which helps the plants to heal themselves when attacked by a disease or an insect. Plants that are under stress cannot react with strength to fight off and recover from the disease, so bring home plants that are suitable to your site.

6. Water properly
Many pathogens in the soil and air need water to move, grow, and reproduce, so watering the garden is a good thing. But, many diseases too need water as much as the plant does. Avoid giving such diseases an environment they love by choosing watering methods that limit the moisture on the plant’s leaves. Use soaker hoses and drip irrigation. Water the roots and hold the leaves out of the way if you’re watering by hand. Common leaf problems occur when the leaves are left wet. So overhead sprinkling is a better option. Watering at a time when the leaves dry quickly and the roots absorb moisture is the best possible solution.

7. Don’t crowd the plants
Take good notice about spacing the plantation; focus on spreading the plants. Crowded plants create humidity which spreads diseases like rust. Improve airflow around the plants to reduce humidity and allow leaves to dry quickly. Plants tend to grow poorly when placed together due to competition for light, water, and nutrients. Diseases also spread when an infected leaf comes into contact with a healthy one, which is more likely to spread around. Trim out crowded, damaged, or old stalks to prevent the disease from spreading.

Caring for your Garden during the Monsoon
Mandir Shrestha, Siam Floritech

It is necessary to manage proper drainage in your garden prior to monsoon as a lot of plants can be damaged by rain. However, it is the best time to plant new shrubs and fruit-bearing trees, as rainwater helps to develop their root systems. It will also be helpful to transplant shrubs from one location to others during the rainy season. Likewise, it is the right time to plan your garden landscape. Turf and grasses will get adequate water which will enhance the development of roots and leaves. It will only take three months to get the ground covered if you plant turf grass during the monsoon.

Similarly, you can put indoor plants outside in the rain once a week so that dirty leaves are washed away. Rainwater has vital minerals in it which can help your plants’ foliage growth.

Monsoon is susceptible to pests and diseases. Pests such as snails, slugs, and leeches thrive during this season, and they can eat up new leaves. To get rid of them, you can either put some salt, crushed egg shells, ground coffee beans, or wood ash in your garden area.

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