Whether you grow fruits, vegetables, flowers or trees, there are some things you can do to ensure that your garden is healthy and productive. Organic gardening practices can help make your garden pest and disease-free.
One of the most important practices is crop rotation, which means moving plant types around each year to keep diseases and weeds from establishing a permanent home in your soil.
AN EVERYDAY kitchen item promises to keep your lawn green through the season.
The “Fun Cheap or Free Queen,” Jordan Page, revealed how she utilizes sugar to make her lawn as lush as ever.
Instead of spending $300 to $500 on weeding and fertilizers, she said that white table sugar may fix many of your lawn’s issues for just a few dollars.
Sugar also aids in feeding the grass’s beneficial microorganisms, insects, and worms, which fertilizer would often kill.
These insects and bacteria contribute to increased photosynthesis, a better soil structure, and climatic tolerance.
Sugar is quite inexpensive and incredibly simple to apply to your grass, often costing around $4.
She advised that you can’t use “too much” sugar, but typically you will want to use a 5 lb bag for every one thousand feet of lawn.
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Get thicker grass by mowing regularly
You can get thicker and healthier grass by regularly trimming small amounts.
Marc Kerr, who is the co-founder of UK subscription lawncare brand So&Mo, spoke to The Express and revealed that it’s all to do with how often you mow the lawn.
He begins by explaining that while some green-fingered homeowners may be tempted to cut the blades really short every now and then, it’s instead best to go for a more regular, smaller trim.
“For an established lawn, mowing little and often is the secret,” he explained.
“As the weather warms, the more regularly you can cut, the better.
“Every three to four days will encourage the grass to grow thicker and healthier.”
Length is the key to the healthiest grass
By mowing your lawn shorter as the weather gets colder, you can keep your lawn healthier year-round, a gardening expert says.
Your gardening habits should change along with the different demands of the seasons.
Phil Dwyer from Scotts’ research and development team said that you should start dropping the blade of your mower in late fall, The Delite reported.
By cutting your lawn about one to two inches shorter, you can keep your grass healthy and unmatted.
“Continue to mow shorter until your grass stops growing in early winter, when both you and your lawn head into hibernation mode,” Dwyer said.
“For that final mowing, go even a little bit lower.”
$4 weed killer
According to the experts, the secret to a weed-free garden and lawn is lime, and no, it’s not the kind you eat.
Lime used in gardens is made from crushed-up limestone, rock, or dolomite, and when applied to soil, it raises the pH level, making the soil less acidic.
Lime also contains magnesium and calcium, which are vital for a healthy garden.
It’s actually the lack of calcium in soil that provides the condition for weeds to thrive in.
Do not use salt to remove weeds
You may have seen hacks on TikTok or Instagram that suggest using common household products like vinegar, baking soda, or salt to kill weeds.
Cass Heaphy, Digital Director at Paving Direct, spoke to Express.co.uk and said to avoid the temptation.
He warned that salt can damage paving, harm soil, and prevent future growth when used on other grassy areas.
Make your garden look bigger
You can make small outdoor spaces look bigger than they are by using three simple tricks:
Paint your fence a lighter color – it’ll add more natural light and help your flowers stand out.
Use storage containers and small planters to help you save space.
Finally, tall and slender plants around the sides of your garden will make your space feel bigger.
Garden mirrors can also be useful to bounce light and create an illusion of more space.
Use pots for mint plants
If planted in your garden, mint will quickly take over and disrupt the surrounding plants.
“Keep it contained to pots,” the gardening expert known as @greenthumbdiaries advised.
By planting your mint in pots, you can keep it all together and prevent it from infesting your other plants.
Plus, you can keep your pot closer to your back door, making it easily accessible to grab some mint as you cook.
Why you should keep mint out of the garden
One gardening expert known as @greenthumbdiaries on social media posted a video revealing the common plant you should never keep in your garden.
Though it makes a great ingredient in homemade dishes, you should not plant mint in your backyard garden.
“Mint is highly invasive,” said the expert.
“It can quickly spread.”
Once planted, due to its horizontal root structure, the expert said the plant creates many new stems as it grows.
Container gardening tips
While gardening in containers is generally easier than doing so in the ground, here are a few important tips to help keep your plants healthy:
- Make sure the container has drainage holes
- Clean the container before use, wash out soil from previous seasons to avoid disease
- Avoid using toxic containers
- Place gravel at the bottom of the container to make sure soil doesn’t drain
Advantages of gardening in containers
In addition to saving space, there are several other benefits to gardening in containers:
- Can move plants to fit their sunlight needs
- Minimizes spread of disease
- Less work is involved
- It’s cheaper
Types of plants to prune
The most common types of plants that need to be pruned are:
The importance of pruning
It’s easy to forget to prune your plants and bushes when your lawn looks dead, but once everything else is in order, it’s important to prune.
The pros at Gardeners’ World explained, “By pruning in summer, you can reap the rewards of better displays from ornamental plants, you’ll also encourage bigger crops from fruit trees and bushes.”
“Removing new summer growth before it turns woody reduces growth-promoting nitrogen, allowing potassium to build up – and more potassium means more flowers and fruit.”
“You’ll also keep plants, such as shrubs, climbers and rambling roses, within bounds and maintain an attractive shape.”
Bad information leads to gardening mistakes
A considerable number of gardening mistakes can be attributed to bad information, according to Chloe Brooks, home gardening expert at Triple Oaks Nursery and Herb Garden in Franklinville, New Jersey.
That doesn’t mean strictly incorrect knowledge – usually, gardeners will take the information they find online and apply it to their circumstances without accounting for their specific climate.
And with weather conditions varying from year to year, it’s risky to take any single regional guide as gospel truth.
Call your local garden center
If you are unsure of how to care for your plants, hop on the phone or online and get in touch with your local garden center, rather than resorting to the internet.
Nursery employees will have an up-to-the-minute understanding of your area’s conditions, and any plant care tips that are unique to your climate and soil.
Calling them with a question or stopping in is totally fine – they want your plants to thrive, too.
Can a garden grow in the shade?
While it is difficult to grow a garden in the shade, it is not impossible.
It’s crucial to do some study on the plants you want to put in your garden and how well they’ll do in shaded areas.
Outdoor vegetables that can grow in shade
If you’re looking to grow vegetables in the shade, here are some recommendations:
- Swiss chard
- Salad leaves
- Broad beans
Outdoor plants that can grow without sun
Here are some plants that can grow well in the shade:
- Wood spurge, Iris foetidissima
- Wood spurge, Euphorbia amygdaloides
- Snowdrops, Galanthus nivalis
- Winter aconite, Eranthis hyemalis
- Bellflower, Campanula lactiflora
- Foxglove, Digitalis purpurea
- Granny’s bonnet, Aquilegia
- Bleeding heart, Lamprocapnos spectabilis
- Lungwort, Pulmonaria
- Siberian bugloss, Brunnera macrophylla
What to do if garden doesn’t get sun
Preparing the soil for your garden plants is one of the most important things you can do for them since they thrive in well-drained, rich soil.
Purchase low-light soil mixtures from gardening stores and supplement them with compost and slow-release fertilizer.
Plants that thrive in mild or partial shade should also be considered.
There are methods you may do to increase the amount of light in your garden.
Mirrors, for example, can be used to reflect light and heat from the sun.
Alternatively, paint a wall white to allow light to reflect and disperse in many directions.
Will my garden thrive if it doesn’t receive sun?
It’s just as vital to know where to put your plants as it is to know what varieties to cultivate in the first place.
What can be easily cultivated will be significantly influenced by external temps, however, the final location of your chosen vegetables will determine how well they thrive.
Some plants like bright, sunny settings, while others prefer to be in the shade.
Most plants require at least six to eight hours of light every day, but others require as much as 10 or up to 14 hours of light to grow.
Some shade-loving plants may survive with only 3 to 4 hours of sunlight.
How to use sugar on lawn
Expert Jordan Page said you don’t have to be precise and use a spreader, but instead, she recommended using an old juice container with a wide mouth to shake out the sugar.
She advised that you can’t use “too much” sugar, but typically you will want to use a 5-pound bag for every one thousand feet of lawn.
Page also recommended applying sugar several times during your first year of the process to help make up for years of chemical damage.
After applying the sugar, she said to simply wet down your lawn.
Save hundreds by using sugar
Expert Jordan Page — the “Fun Cheap or Free Queen” — revealed how she uses sugar to keep her lawn greener than ever.
Rather than spend somewhere around $300-$500 on weeding and fertilizers, you can use white table sugar to solve many of your lawn’s problems.
Typically costing around $4, sugar is both super cheap and super easy to apply to your lawn.
Other than making your grass extra green, she said sugar is also beneficial for the environment.
Organize with a storage shed
Installing some form of storage, such as a shed, is essential in keeping your garden clean and tidy and it’s the first step to achieving a stylish look.
If you already have a shed, don’t forget to give it a fresh coat of paint by choosing a color that will match the rest of your garden furniture.
DIY pesticide: plastic forks
As BBQ season approaches, the experts also advise using one everyday kitchen item to improve pest control in your garden.
They said: “If you’ve spotted stray cats, rabbits or mice in your yard, stick a few forks in the ground around their favorite hangout.”
“The sharp tines will deter most small animals, and keep young plants out of harm’s way.”
This comes as The Sun revealed the opinion of experts at Old World Garden Farms who warned of the danger of using harsh chemicals.
DIY pesticide: insecticidal soap
Gardening experts at Bonvilla suggest the use of insecticidal soap as a “non-toxic solution” for spraying plants that are being bothered by bugs.
They advise to mix 1-2 drops of lemon essential oil, 1 tablespoon of pure liquid soap, like castile soap, per 1 quart of water, and to put it in a spray bottle.
However, avoid using dishwashing liquid, as the additives can harm plants, and be ineffective on insects.
They said: “Keep the bottle handy, and use it whenever you need to protect your garden from creepy-crawlers.”
Experts on using straw
“Straw in the garden is best used like a mulch,” horticulture expert Eric De Boer told Homes and Gardens.
The material acts “as a barrier to protect from weed germination and to also help shield the soil from the sun to increase the soil’s water retention.”
Other plant experts told the outlet that using straw in the garden has countless benefits that preserve the longevity of your plants.
“‘Straw is a natural weed suppressor. It will help keep weeds from growing in the garden while also conserving moisture,” said Brody Hall, a certified horticulturist and land manager from The Indoor Nursery.
Keep weeds away with straw
According to horticulturists and plant professionals, all-natural straw is one of the most effective tools to bring into your garden.
You don’t need to buy a whole bale – you can typically buy smaller bundles at your local farm store for upwards of $2.
Some hardware stores even sell pre-portioned bags made for gardens, which can cost closer to $15 but can be found on the shelves or online.