A garden is many people’s pride and joy – and can be a work of art if looked after properly. Here is our guide on how to garden the efficient way this summer
Keep your tools well-maintained
In most cases, a gardener is only as good as their tools, for they play an essential role in the appearance and health of your garden. After each use, all tools should be cleaned and disinfected, especially if they touched a diseased plant. Keeping edged tools sharpened and in good working condition will ensure your plants and vegetation will receive the very best, most efficient, treatment. As well as dull tools being harder to work with, they may also leave jagged cuts on plants which may invite disease.
Take care to buy healthy plants
Obtaining a diseased plant is one of the unluckiest things to happen to you and your garden. Therefore, it’s vital to understand what a healthy plant should look like. A plant with dead spots, rotted stems, or insects could be definite signs of an unhealthy specimen. You should also always inspect the root quality. Roots should be firm, usually white, and spaced all over the root-ball. Dark or mushy roots are not a good sign.
A vital thing to remember with water when it comes to gardening, is that many pathogens in the soil and air need water to move, grow, and reproduce. To prevent this from happening, choose watering methods that limit moisture on a plant’s foliage, such as soaker hoses and drip irrigation which both accomplish this. If you are watering by hand, holding the leaves out of the way as you water the roots is a good tip. This is because the most common leaf problems are exacerbated when leaves are wet.
Also, it’s handy to remember that more isn’t necessarily better when giving your plants a drink. Waterlogged soil or pots can promote some root-rotting fungi and can also suffocate roots, making them easy targets for the rotting fungi.
From 5th August, millions of people living in the North West of England are going to be affected by a hosepipe ban following what is believed to be the longest heatwave in the UK since 1976.
The hosepipe ban, otherwise known as a ‘Temporary Use Ban (TUB)’ is being enforced by water company United Utilities. Therefore, until the ban is lifted, different methods of watering your garden will be required.
Weeds – the last thing a gardener wants to see an abundance of in their garden – is any gardener’s arch nemeses. However, weeds are inevitable. Getting them under control can be time-consuming, but the more you manage them, the easier and quicker it will become to get rid of them.
What’s useful is to use approximately two inches of mulch in your garden. Mulch will not only retain moisture for your plants but will also suffocate weeds and prevent them from growing.
Once it’s been raining, weeds will have come up from the ground clearer and are more likely to have the root system intact which, when weeded, will reduce the chances of them growing back. So, it’s best to get weeding after it’s been raining!
A crowd of plants is asking for trouble!
It’s wise to take care when spacing plants and keep an eye on established plants as they grow. If plants are overly crowded, they will create their own humidity which allows diseases like powdery mildew, rust, and downy mildew to thrive. Allowing greater airflow around your plants reduces this high relative humidity and allows foliage to dry quicker.
Also, plants placed too closely together tend to grow poorly due to their competition for light, water, and nutrients. Such plants are weaker and therefore more susceptible to attack. To decrease the likelihood of disease, trim out crowded, damaged, or old stalks on plants that are prone to powdery mildew, such as Phlox paniculata.
Make sure you have great compost
One important fact about compost that too many people miss is that not all materials in a compost pile decompose at the same rate. Some materials will have degraded sufficiently to be put in the garden, while others have not, so make sure it’s all good to go. Thorough composting will result in high temperatures for extended lengths of time, which kill any pathogens in the material. Infected plant debris, for example, which has not undergone this process will reintroduce potential diseases into your garden.
Feed the garden well – and frequently
Feeding your plants throughout the growing season isn’t just about producing bigger, more prolific plants. It should also help promote flowering, brighten foliage, encourage fruit production, strengthen root growth and increase disease resistance. A healthy plant, like a healthy body, will fight off pests and diseases more easily.
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