As our community begins to adapt to a new era of safety protocols and social distancing recommendations, more and more people are digging into new hobbies as a way of remaining actively engaged in something other than the endless supply of ready-to-binge shows at their disposal. One such hobby that is experiencing rapid growth is home gardening.
For some, achieving green-thumb status has been a work-in-progress for years. For others, however, the newly acquired desire to grow produce at home may have come after encountering limitations to fresh food at local grocery stores. Whatever the case may be, cultivating this interest in home gardening is doing far more than simply trading couch potatoes in for real potatoes. It’s producing rewarding stabilization when the world around us feels a little shaky.
So, where to start? Here are seven tips to get your pandemic garden off the ground.
Home gardening tip #1: Select the right site
Planning where to plant your home garden is much like choosing where to live—location, location, location! Not only do you want to put it in a place where it will be easily seen and remembered, but you want to put it somewhere you’ll be comfortable spending time, as well. After all, the more accessible the spot, the better attention your garden will get. Find out how to pick the best site.
Home gardening tip #2: Watch the sun
Not literally. Staring at the sun can have damaging effects on the eyes. Likewise, a garden spot with too much or too little sun can suffer. Pay attention to how the sunlight progresses through your intended location before you plant. While most vegetables, herbs and fruits need at least six hours of sun to thrive, some may require more or less exposure.
Home gardening tip #3: Park it by water
This may come as a shock, but the best trick to maintaining a flourishing home garden is to keep it watered. And the best way to keep it watered is to make sure there is an easily accessible water source nearby. There’s nothing more miserable than having to lug water around. When it comes to knowing how often to water your plants, the best way to tell is by sticking your finger an inch into the soil. If it’s dry, give them a drink.
Home gardening tip #4: Consider the right container
It’s not a gardening requirement to have a sprawling yard with lots of room to grow. If tilling up the yard isn’t an option, or if space is a premium, you may want to consider planter boxes, pots or containers. Many people find planter-box gardening to be a very manageable alternative to tending larger garden beds. And most plants do just as well in smaller spaces. Just make sure to use containers that are big enough for the plants you intend to grow. Learn how to choose the right container.
Home gardening tip #5: Pick the right plant
Every plant has its own unique growing conditions. Some love the sun, while some love heat. Some grow vertically, while others gobble up the ground around them. Some sprout easily from seeds, while others do better as young plant starts. Do your homework and be sure to pick the plant varieties that will not only do well at your home but thrive in the space you have prepared. Find out how to pick the right plant.
Home gardening tip #6: Mulch Much
Adding a layer of mulch to your garden serves many beneficial purposes in your home garden growing endeavors. A 2-3-inch layer of mulch around each plant will help reduce weed growth by blocking out the sun. It will also assist in moisture loss through evaporation, which will allow your plants to stay hydrated longer. As far as selecting the right mulch for the job, there is not clear winner. You can use straw, shredded leaves or any of the various mulch varieties sold at most home and garden stores.
Home gardening tip #7: “Feed me, Seymore”
Chances are, you won’t be growing the insatiable talking plant from “Little Shop of Horrors.” However, you will experience the best growing results by providing your plants with regular boosts of plant food—in addition to the trifecta of good soil, plenty of water and ample amounts of sun. After all, plants also need a constant supply of life-sustaining nutrients in order to yield the best results. Learn more about fertilizers.
With a little bit of nutrition and a whole lot of care, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying the figurative and literal fruits of growing a healthy, beautiful garden right from the comfort of your own home. And in these trying times, a little health and beauty might just be what we need most.
No matter where you find yourself in the process of searching for the perfect home in the perfect neighborhood, Magnolia Green wants to help. Feel free to call the Magnolia Green Welcome Center near Richmond, VA anytime, or stop by at your convenience.