Gardening Tips
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November 23
Christmas Pot Luck
December 6
at Helen Scammell's



Introduction to Basic Gardening

 It does not matter at what age you start to garden the following are some basic tips that will help you get the most out of your effort.


5 pieces of equipment you should not be without:

 1.  Hoe     2.  Spade     3.  Pruner      4.  Sheers          5.  Trowel

Periodic maintenance is essential to keep your equipment in good working condition.

Maintenance:  * Remove all dirt and coat with a light machine oil to ward off rust.

                        *Clean metal with a light to medium steel wool. (You can use SOS pads if you like – just remember to clean the entire soap residue off when finished).

                        *Sharpen with the correct file.

                        *If you only do this once a year is should be done in the fall when you put your tools away for the winter. 

Preparing your flower bed

 Easiest way to make a new bed is to cover the ground with thick cardboard or newspaper.  Put a layer of soil at least 4inches thick on top.  You can repeat this process until you reach the required height you want.  This is sometimes referred to as the lasagna method.

Depth of Soil

Perennial gardens: Minimum of 18-24 inches deep.  Annual gardens:  12 inches deep.

Sun or Shade

Make a note of how much sun/shade you get in your garden.  You will need to know this when you are choosing your plants.

PH of Soil

Plants grow best in soil that is not too high or too low a pH.  PH Soil testers are readily available at your local garden centers.

Soil Type

 Next check your soil type.  E.g. Clay, sandy, loam or rocky.

Soil Condition

Finally check to see if your area is dry, normal, wet or woodlands maybe even down at the shore near salt water.


All of these conditions should be taken into consideration before you select your plants.  There is a very wise saying.  “Buy a $5.00 plant and place it in a million dollar hole.” 



 1.                  Water plant well before you transplant.

 2.                  Check the roots when you remove it from the container.  Healthy roots are nice and white.  Plants can get root bound.  This means the plant has been in the container to long and the roots have changed to a dark yellow or brown/black.  If this has happened scarify the roots.  Scarifying will require you to gently pull the roots apart on the bottom and also on the side.  If it is really pot bound you can also cut off the bottom portion and then gently pull apart.

 3.                  You are ready to plant.

 4.                  Place bone meal or blood meal in the bottom of the prepared hole.  Read directions for correct amount for your application.  Mix the soil around and then place your plant in the hole and cover with soil. You can also use a Mycorise, follow instructions on package. (This helps the plant’s root system to produce many fine hairs.  These hairs draw in all the nutrients to the plant.  It is not a fertilizer.)

 5.                  Firmly press the soil in around your plant to get out any air pockets.

 6.                  Water in well.  You can use a transplant fertilizer at this time.  Do not fertilize with any other type of fertilizer.  Let your plant settle in and keep watered for approx. 2 weeks before you begin a water-soluble fertilizing regime.  This will reduce transplant shook and risk of losing your plant.

 7.                  Long living plants like shrubs, trees and perennials will have a higher success rate if they are kept from drying out their first growing season.  After that they should be able to take care of themselves with what nature provides.

    Now sit back and watch your garden grow.

Other handy tips that will help you have

the garden of your dreams:

 1.      Consult the tag that comes with your plant.  It will provide you with a range of valuable instructions.

 2.      Rule of thumb for planting is do not plant deeper than the soil line.  (If you plant it to low you could risk rotting off the stem and some plants do not bloom.)

 3.      Follow recommended spacing for your plants.  It will not look full in the beginning but they will grow, trust me.  If it is a perennial/shrub bed, you could plant annuals to fill in the space the first year or two.  This will give your plants the room to grow and it will look more appealing to the eye.

 4.      Planting the wrong tree in the wrong spot is probably one of the most common mistakes.  Do research before you buy.  Make it the right tree for the right spot.

 5.      Under or over planting.  This mostly comes with experience and personal taste.  Make use of annuals so you do not over plant and follow spacing requirements to ensure you do not under plant.

 6.      Stake plants early in the season.  Do not wait till the are dropping or falling down.  The plant will sustain damage with late staking and you may loose some of those valuable blooms.

 7.      Too much of everything and not enough of one.  We get so enthusiastic about gardening that we tend to want some of everything.  This often leads to your garden looking a mess.  Planting in-groups of 3, 5 etc. will give you a good show of colour and texture.

 8.      Over fertilizing can lead to plants becoming leggy, lots of greenery but no blooms and they may even be burnt from the fertilizer.  Follow instructions carefully.

 9.      Trees and shrubs alone in the landscape.  Nature has a way of grouping things together and it looks pretty good.

 10.  Paths too narrow to get a wheel barrel through.  One thing you will need is room to work.  Don’t shortchange yourself.

 11.  Draw up a plan.  The hours you spend making the right choices in the first place will save you tenfold in the garden.

 12.  Remember green side up and brown side down.  Have fun…..



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Last modified: November 02, 2011

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