When it comes to planting the garden, how and when you plant can have a huge impact on how your plant’s perform all season.
If plants struggle early, it often leads to long-term health and productivity issues. Issues such as stunted growth, poor blooming habits, and increased susceptibility to pests and disease.
And unfortunately, all of those issues severely impact the overall harvest of a garden. But the good news is, nearly all of those problems can be avoided by starting your garden off right on planting day.
Here are 5 key steps you can take when planting to get your garden off on the right foot:
5 Big Secrets To Plant The Garden For Success!
# 1 Let The Soil Warm
One of the biggest mistakes gardeners make is planting too early. And not just due to the threat of frost or freeze, but because the soil is still too cold.
Cold soil all but stops a tender young transplants growth in it’s tracks. And unfortunately, it takes more than just a few days of 70 degree temperatures to warm the soil.
The soil temp can easily be checked with an inexpensive soil thermometer probe. (Product Link : Accurite Soil Thermometer)
Before planting transplants, allow the garden soil to warm to a minimum of 60 degrees. Warm loving crops like tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and zucchini will thank you with quick growth!
#2 Plant Deep & Add Nutrients
The deeper you plant your transplants, the better. This allows transplants to develop deep roots. Roots that can absorb more nutrients, and retain more moisture.
Don’t be afraid to bury transplants up to 1/3 to 1/2 of the total plant. Especially when it comes to tomatoes and peppers!
And just as important, be sure to add additional power when you plant! Vegetable plants require a lot of nutrients to thrive, and planting day is the perfect time to start plants off with a little extra boost.
To do this, add in generous amounts of compost to each planting hole. And mixing in added nutrients like worm castings, egg shells and coffee grounds is a great idea too! (See : The Power of Worm Castings)
#3 Don’t Compress The Roots
This is one of the most underrated hints in gardening! Keep foot traffic to a minimum in the immediate area around your plants. Not just on planting day, but for the entire garden season.
As you plant, be careful to not compress the soil in and around your plants. If the soil is compacted around roots, they have more difficulty absorbing nutrients and water. But even more, it makes it difficult for roots to expand and grow!
Keep foot traffic 12 to 18″ away from plants and their roots all season long. It will go a long way to growing bigger, healthier plants.
#4 Mulch Plants On Planting Day
Mulch is one of the biggest keys to gardening success. It holds in moisture and regulates the soil temperature, all while holding back competing weeds.
Applying a 4″ to 6″ layer of an organic mulch such as straw, grass clippings, shredded leaves or compost will go a long way to keeping plants healthy and productive. From start to finish!
But the key is to get that mulch down right away when planting the garden. That is when tender young plants need protection the most.
#5 Watering Right
Last but not least, proper watering is absolutely vital to establish plants in correctly. And that means not giving them too little, or too much water!
Water plants deeply on planting day, filling the hole with water as you plant. For the first 7 to 10 days, new transplants will often require water every, or every other day. Watch for signs of wilt and and water as needed.
However, after plants have had that time to settle in, they will need less frequent, but still deep watering. Watering a plant every day in the garden may sound like a great idea, but it develops plants with shallow roots.
If a plant gets water every day, it never sends roots deeper. Unfortunately, that is an issue for both plant strength, and its ability to gather nutrients.
After the first few weeks, plants need to be watered only once or twice a week during dry spells. (unless of course you live in desert or extremely hot areas)
Water deep when you do water, providing 1/2 gallon or so to every plant. This will help the plant develop deep roots, and maintain health between watering. Here is to planting the garden for success this year!
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