Top 10 Gardening Questions

Top 10 Gardening Questions

Apr 5th 2024

Achieving a healthy and thriving garden takes work and commitment. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced gardener, gardening is a hobby that requires consistent knowledge. From how to efficiently water your plants to growing vegetables in raised beds and stopping pests from preying on your favorite crops, the quest for answers never stops.

We understand that novice and seasoned gardeners face common problems every season. Also, there are many simple questions that gardeners hesitate to ask. But don't worry. In this guide, our gardening experts will answer the top 10 gardening questions to help you up your gardening game and make the most of your garden.

How Often Should I Water My Plants?

This is the most common question for gardeners at some point in their gardening journey. How often you should water your plants depends on multiple crucial factors, such as soil type, the climate in your area, the plant type, the season, and whether your plants are grown in the ground or a container.

In Southern California, gardeners can water deeply twice a week during the hot summer and once a week in winter. With most plants can find out if they need watering by sticking your finger in the soil. If the soil feels dry, it shows the plants are thirsty, and it's time to water them deeply. However, if the soil is moist, wait until it dries. Always check your plants and soil before watering.

Furthermore, read the seed labels to determine if the plant prefers moist soil or is drought tolerant. Plants that love moist soil need frequent watering.

What is the Best Way to Irrigate a Garden?

Consider the type of plants, water supply, and soil to choose the best irrigation system for your garden. Multiple options, including drip irrigation, sprinkler, and spray systems, are available for watering your plants, lawn, and garden.

Drip irrigation is the modern and most efficient irrigation method. It delivers water directly to the plant's root system in a controlled amount, preventing evaporation and runoff. You can purchase ready-to-assemble drip irrigation kits to start watering your garden efficiently.

  • Use a drip irrigation system to water flower beds, rows of crops, plants in containers, and plants in raised beds.
  • Use a drip irrigation system to irrigate a vertical garden.
  • Use lawn sprinklers to water a large lawn, as they will provide even water coverage to your entire lawn.
  • Use drip lines to water a slope or hillside area.
  • Use drip line rings or watering stakes to water fruit trees or shrubs.
  • A drip irrigation system is also recommended for watering greenhouse plants, as it provides precise water delivery without waste.

What do Partial Shade and Full Shade Mean?

Partial shade or partial sun refers to a garden area receiving 4-6 hours of sunlight daily. Full shade refers to garden spots that receive less than 4 hours of sunlight daily. Full-sun areas receive at least six or more than 6 hours of sunlight daily.

How do I know my Soil Type?

Many gardeners wonder how to determine the type of soil in their garden. Well, it's easy: test the soil. Knowing the soil type is essential because soil quality can greatly impact gardening success. You should know your soil's pH, consistency, and holding and draining properties.

The ideal soil pH level where most plants thrive is between 6.0 and 7.0. A pH of 6.5 is perfect for most gardens. You can purchase a soil testing kit to determine the soil's pH level and nutrient makeup. Additionally, you can also consider the soil quality by its appearance. If your soil is of lighter shade and has a clay-like texture, you must amend it. If your soil has a crumbly texture and has black or brown share, it shows your garden has good-quality soil.

To discover more about soil type and testing, read our blog, Know Your Soil Type.

What is the Difference between Compost and Mulch? Can I use Compost as a Mulch?

Compost and mulch are not the same. Sometimes, compost can be used as mulch, but they serve different purposes in the garden. Compost is decomposed organic matter and an organic soil amendment. It resembles soil. Gardeners mix compost with the soil to improve the soil structure and add nutrients for plants.

Mulch refers to organic and inorganic materials used to cover the top of the soil to reduce erosion, limit weed growth, and improve moisture retention. It can be made of dry leaves gathered over autumn. Some common mulch types are wood chips, straw, pine needles, and gravel.

What is the Soil Amendment, and how can I Amend my Soil for free?

Soil amendment refers to organic matter added to soil to improve its quality, adjust pH level, enhance drainage, and nourish plants. Organic matter can be compost, decomposed manure, or leaves. It adds essential nutrients to the plant's root system.

You can make compost at home for free to amend your soil using food scraps, coffee grounds, manure, eggshells, worm castings, and organic waste from your garden, such as fallen leaves. You can also add peat moss to your soil to amend the soil.

Read more: Step-by-Step Guide for Making Compost

When to Prune My Shrubs and Trees?

Pruning is one of the crucial gardening activities. It improves the plant's appearance, removes dead or diseased parts, promotes new growth, and boosts plant health. The ideal time to prune spring-flowering shrubs is after the plant blooms in early spring to encourage new flower bud formation. Prune summer-blooming shrubs in late winter or early spring when the plants are dormant.

For a healthy cut, prune plants at a 45-degree angle directly above a node with sharp and clean pruners. When pruning, remove dead, diseased, or broken branches, stems, and dense growth in the center of the plant.

Should I Plant in Pots, Raised Garden Beds, or Soil?

Growing in a container or in the ground depends on available space, the soil quality of your garden, and your gardening goals and needs. If you have limited space in your garden to sow seeds, you can create a beautiful outdoor space by growing plants in pots and containers. They are portable so you can place them on a patio, balcony, or windowsill. In addition, container gardening allows you to bring sensitive plants inside when the weather turns cold. Shallow-rooted plants grow well in pots or containers.

If you want your plants to develop extensive root systems, you should plant in raised beds or containers. One of the many benefits of growing in raised garden beds or containers is that you can control the soil quality and extend the growing season.

If you're an elder or experience difficulty bending or stopping, you should grow plants in tall metal raised beds. These beds allow you to grow your favorite crops and perform gardening tasks like watering and weeding easily without compromising your health.

Lastly, if your garden has enough space and good-quality soil, you can save money and time by growing plants in the ground.

What are the Easiest Vegetables to Grow for Beginners?

Some of the easiest and quickest vegetables you can grow include leafy greens (lettuce, chard, kale, arugula), beans, radishes, carrots, eggplants, cucumbers, and strawberries. These veggies are easy to grow and require little care and time. With little TLC, these vegetables will provide fresh and healthy produce.

Read more: Easiest Summer Vegetables to Grow

How can I Protect Plants from Pests and Diseases?

Every gardener wants to keep their garden safe from bugs and diseases. Here are tips to manage pests and plant diseases.

  • Keep your garden and pots clean and debris-free.
  • Plant high-quality and disease-resistant seeds.
  • Water at the plant's base using drip irrigation to prevent fungal diseases.
  • Rotate crops by growing them in different parts of the garden.
  • Use row covers to prevent larger pests from accessing the plants.
  • Use natural pesticides like neem spray to kill pests.
  • Apply mulch at the base of your plants.
  • Grow pest-repelling plants like broccoli, rosemary, and celery to deter pests.

Bonus Questions:

How to grow potatoes?

Check out our complete guide on growing potatoes!

How to grow vegetables in a raised bed?

Read our guide on growing vegetables in raised beds.

Why do tomatoes split?

Read the blog on why tomatoes split and how to prevent it.

How to grow tomatoes in a raised garden bed?

Read our in-depth guide on growing tomatoes in raised beds.

Now that you have answers to important gardening questions, you can start planning and planting your garden.

If you don't see your question in this blog, don't worry. Feel free to contact us with your questions!