Arlington Parks’ 3 Practical Gardening Tips and 3 Mistakes to Avoid
By Arlington Parks & Recreation
Posted on April 17, 2020, April 17, 2020

women potting a plant

With spring in full swing and many people spending more time at home, it’s the perfect time to spruce up your yard or garden and create a beautiful landscape to enjoy year-round. Wendy Pappas, APRD’s Urban Forestry Land Manager, offers some practical advice for gardeners, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro with a very green thumb. Here are 3 practical gardening tips, as well as 3 common mistakes you’ll want to avoid.

3 Practical Gardening Tips

  1. Keep up with where everything is planted

    This one might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to forget which seeds were planted in which areas, especially if you love experimenting with lots of different types of plants at once. The plants will start to come up and you may not be able to tell what they are until they bloom or develop mature leaves. To avoid this, there are several easy ways you can mark the areas where you plant. You can use color coordinated golf tees, or even write the plant names on popsicle sticks and poke them into the soil.

  2. Keep pots from getting too heavy

    Huge flower pots are a beautiful addition to your garden, but they can also get extremely heavy and difficult to move once they are filled all the way with garden soil and plants. Not only that, but filling them to the brim with soil is also expensive. Instead of filling them all the way with soil, you can fill the bottom portion of the pot with packing peanuts or cheap pool noodles. Simply put landscape fabric over the filler and add soil over this. You achieve the same beautiful effect while keeping the weight and cost low!

  3. Use leftovers for nutrients in your garden

    There are several ways to turn leftovers or discarded food items into nutrients your plants will love. Adding coffee grounds to your garden will help the acidity of your soil and keep pests away. Fruit and vegetable scraps can be added directly to vegetable beds to provide nutrients as they decompose. You can grind up egg shells and add them to the soil to provide calcium.

3 Mistakes to Avoid

  1. Only focusing on one season

    Many gardeners make the mistake of only planning for one season, usually during spring when garden centers are full of beautiful flowering plants. However, if you only focus on plants that bloom in spring, you will be left with only mulch after spring is over. To avoid this, you can look for plants that are evergreen, or plants that flower year-round. You can also search for plants that flower at various times of year to ensure that you have something in bloom no matter the season.

  2. Planting too many plants at once

    Gardening can be very exciting, and many new gardeners are eager to cultivate a huge collection of plants in their yard. However, it is possible to overdo it and this could end up harming and overwhelming your plants. It is important to remember that plants need plenty of air circulation around them to grow and be healthy. Lack of air circulation can put them at risk for disease. Too many plants clustered together will also significantly add to the maintenance of the plants, causing them to need trimming and weeding more often.

  3. Buying the largest plants possible

    It can be tempting to purchase the largest plant in the bunch when shopping at the garden center. However, this should be avoided for several practical reasons. The largest plants will cost much more than the smaller versions of the same plant. Size can also affect the plant’s ability to adapt to your garden. Smaller plants will have an easier time getting established in your landscape than larger plants, because the smaller roots will adapt to the soil faster than larger roots. The longer a plant stays in the nursery, the longer it will take to establish itself into your soil.

We hope you enjoy and utilize these tips to maintain a beautiful, well-planned garden that you can appreciate all year long. Stay tuned for more gardening advice from Arlington Forestry and Beautification in the coming spring weeks!

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