Many factors influence the productivity of the plants grown in a garden. Gardeners can exert some control over these factors, such as placing the plants in particular parts of the garden. Other influences over the garden are dependent on the climate and types of plants a gardener chooses to grow.
Using a few simple tricks and tips to grow a better garden can help increase its output, as well as the amount of flowers, fruits and vegetables produced.
Planning out a garden in early spring can help a gardener decide what types of plants to use. Perennials from earlier seasons will begin to grow on their own, while annuals need to be chosen to grow to the best of their ability. Additionally, planning a garden involves more than picking the types of plants –the placement and layout of the plants in the garden also make a difference in its productivity.
Gardens and Sunlight
Many popular garden plants require full sunlight in order to grow to their fullest potential. Learning about what plants thrive in shadier areas and how tall certain plants grow can help a gardener design an effective garden layout. For example, sunflowers grow to be very tall; planting them at the back of a garden in full sunlight enables them to receive nutrients without shadowing other plants.
Sunlight is the primary source of energy for plants. Without its light, plants cannot synthesize nutrients into a usable form. However, some types of plants do well in shadier areas and can be grown in partial sunlight. Putting these types of plants near a tree or other tall plants can provide them with access to nutrients without limiting their potential for growth.
Fertilizing a Garden
Fertilizing a garden properly is one of the most important parts of helping plants grow. Applying fertilizer in early spring around the time of planting adds nutrients to the soil that aid plants in their initial growth and keeps them healthy. Gardeners who apply the right type of fertilizer for their gardens are more likely to have healthy and productive plants.
Soil testing in the early spring before growth begins is a simple way to see what nutrients are lacking in the soil. The three main nutrients in fertilizers are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. A good balance of those three nutrients is essential for proper plant growth; soil lacking in one or more can be supplemented with the use of fertilizers.
Compost is a type of fertilizer that can be made at home by discarding vegetable waste in a safe container. This type of fertilizer is rich in nutrients and helps cut down on landfill waste.
Applying fertilizers throughout the growing season promotes the health of the plants and makes up for nutrients lost in the soil. In addition to fertilizer, proper irrigation and drainage are important for gardens. Using mulch and hand watering a garden can help plants trap nutrients without getting over-watered.
Permaculture gardening is a type of gardening that employs plants for multiple purposes. Plants like butterfly bushes are used to attract beneficial insects like butterflies and bees, while peas and certain types of beans can be planted to fix nitrogen in the soil, which reduces the need for fertilizer. Permaculture planting is beneficial both to the plants and to the gardener, since it cuts down on the effort needed to maintain a healthy and thriving garden.
Planning out a garden is the best way to make sure the garden is as productive as possible. Thoughtful and careful consideration of each plant and its location can contribute both to the health and aesthetic appeal of a garden.