Maintaining Plant Health

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Gardening is both an art and a science. It takes time, experimentation, and education to master a green thumb. If you are just getting started, here are some things to keep in mind:

Environmental Factors

Air temperature and humidity can have a huge impact on the growth cycles of garden plants. Extreme seasonal temperatures impact the activity of plant metabolisms. Both extreme cold and intense heat can shut down the normal functions of plants and cause them to survive in a resource-conserving stasis until temperatures are more favorable.

Plant Pests

Pests are more likely to attack a stressed plant than a healthy plant. A few insect pests are normal and not cause for concern but if you get a more severe pest infestation, it means something in your garden or locale has become severely out of balance. Talk to a nursery or garden center professional to help identify exactly which type of pest you are dealing with and how best to treat them. For instance, there are organic pest controls that can help you control them and restore your plants to a healthy state.

Soil Health

Of all the things that contribute to a plant’s health, the soil is the most important. The good news is unlike temperature or precipitation, you can cultivate healthy soil by adding organic matter or fertilizer and trying to avoid disrupting the soil as much as possible (no rototilling!).

Garden Hygiene

You have to invest time and effort to keep your garden healthy and free of disease and pests. It’s as simple as keeping things neat and tidy – removing fallen leaves, pulling weeds, completely removing dead or diseased plants, etc. A little work in the off-season can help keep plants healthy all year round.

What You Plant Matters

First, research what grows best in your area. Start with what you love and then consider what grows best in your zone, and finally, your specific yard, in terms of sun exposure, water usage, etc. Any nursery or garden center professional can help you think through what will thrive in your space.

How Much You Plant Matters

This can be a more complicated question than it seems. If planted too close together, the long-term health of a plant can be compromised. A nursery or garden center professional can help you answer and think through these questions to ensure you have as healthy and viable a garden as possible.

When You Plant Matters

As a general rule, fall and spring are the best seasons in which to plant most types of plants. The conditions and type of your soil are also factors. Read up on the conventional wisdom of planting in your region, your soil type, and your climate.

The moral of the story is a green thumb is kind of a mythical designation. If you want a healthy garden, take the time to do your research and talk to the professionals. Ultimately, you will save time and money and have a garden that brings you joy – maybe even a bounty of fresh produce!