Gardening is already one of the nation’s great pastimes, but recent events have seen the increased popularity of gardening as a hobby, with seed sales increasing six-fold for some businesses. With gardening being an exciting new pursuit for many, the safe methods of encouraging healthy garden growth are more important than ever – so, to help those who are just embarking on their home gardening journey, the following tips can help your garden flourish.
Pest control is key to ensuring the overall health of your garden; allowing certain species to proliferate in your garden can cause long-term damage to plant life. As insects and gastropods feed on leaves, stems and root structures alike, they can harm and even kill garden fauna over time. Not only this, but insect species can inadvertently introduce viral and bacterial diseases, resulting in the loss of entire beds.
Pest control can be managed in a number of ways. Pesticide treatments are available that work in a number of ways, whether organic insecticides that support healthy plant growth to ward off aphids or synthetic contact pesticides that kill off pests. There are also biological interventions you can make, by introducing predators to your garden to naturally control the pest population.
Healthy plant growth is the cornerstone of a healthy garden, and arguably the most important factor to address. Again, there are many different routes to ensuring robust and healthful growth, some of which can work in tandem for the best possible results; fertiliser is one such route, artificially introducing key nutrients to plants to encourage quicker and stronger growth.
There are three principal kinds of fertiliser: organic, mineral and industrial. Organic fertilisers are derived from living matter, in the form of compost or manure. Mineral fertilisers are mined from the earth, directly providing key mineral nutrients. Industrial fertilisers isolate nutrients via chemical processes. Using the right fertiliser for your plants is a matter of knowing which nutrients are missing – but in any case, moderation is always best to prevent fertilizer burn and decreased water uptake.
Given the positive effects of compost and other organic fertilisers, it may seem a good thing to leave your flowerbeds be. But leaving decaying leaf matter can actually harm your beautiful flowers and plants, by introducing harmful diseases and bacteria to your bed and damaging new leaves. One common malady is black spot, which can be found on roses and on other plants as a result of a fungal infection.
But, clearing flowerbed debris is thankfully a simple task, with the deployment of a trusty leaf blower often sufficing to ensure your soil is clear and your plants unburdened. Do check your beds regularly for decaying leaves, though.
If you want to keep your grass healthy throughout winter, we recommend using dead leaves as fertiliser as they provide nutrients to the ground in frosty conditions. However, before you think you can leave your lawn untouched, you must remember to gather the leaves and chop them into smaller pieces.
Once chopped, the leaves need to be dispersed over the lawn evenly and in a thin layer to make sure that the grass is not suffocated. This is a great way to re-use dead leaves and become a bit more eco-friendly.
Watering your plants is something you perhaps carry out autonomously now, intrinsic as it is to garden care. But in some cases, incorrect watering can lead to poor plant health; overwatered plants can be much more vulnerable to fungal infections, while moist leaves can harbour damaging bacteria.
If you do find that your flowerbeds are overwatered, there may be some opportunity to save them. Typically, the leaves will turn a slightly yellow colour, and then eventually wilt. If you can, try and catch your plant with yellowing leaves as these are easier to save than wilted, which often require much more aggressive saving.
For yellowing plants, first, start by checking the soil. If the soil is dry to the touch and light in colour, then the soil could do with some moisture. When it comes to watering, avoid soaking the entire plant, try to slowly target the roots and avoid watering in the evening.
For wilting plants, move the plant to an area that is out of direct sunlight, even if the plant enjoys full sun, and remove any dead leaves. You want to try to encourage oxygen to the roots, so try to create space around this area and trim away any dead roots.
Following this, you should only water when the soil is dry to the touch (avoid letting the plant completely dry out), avoid any fertilising products and consider a fungicide.
In order to avoid both yellowing and wilted plants, we recommend that you keep to a regular watering schedule (although this will change from summer to winter) and avoid overwatering where possible by assessing the plants’ leaves, roots and surrounding soil.