Have you always wanted to have your own flower garden but been intimidated by the prospect of starting and maintaining it?
Planning and preparing a garden are fairly simple. It's the initiation that's a killer. But fear no more -- here are some helpful hints for home garden lovers on how to simply put together your dream garden.
And, by the way, welcome to the world of gardening.
Every garden lover who has dreamed of the perfect flower bed has envisioned their perfect spot. That vision is the first step in the process.
Be sure to choose a place for optimum plant growth -- that is, consider the amount of sun, soil type and drainage accessibility as well as the slope of the ground and the winds before hacking into the ground.
Also, before you really start digging lay out the shape of your garden. Try using a hose to mark original garden shapes, and then use a sharp spade or edging tool to make the outer edge of your garden.Begin small, about 100 square feet. If you want to, you can always add onto your flowerbed later.
Now that you've marked the outline of your dream garden, the soil within must be prepared. This is the step that deters most potential gardeners from finishing their projects.
First, get rid of all the rocks and smooth over the soil for a depth of about a foot. A soil test is then necessary to determine soil acidity. The pH should eventually be from 6-7. Add whatever ingredient is needed to neutralize your soil, plus a form of compost to fertilize the ground. Both components should be spread together about 4 inches deep.
After this process, you've crossed the hump. The next few steps are a snap.
It's now time to pick and arrange your plants or flowers. To help organize your garden, try sketching it beforehand. Keep in mind that each plant needs space to grow. Your garden should be arranged according to flowering period, color, form, and texture of the foliage.
After all the preliminary steps, you can finally get to the actual planting. Use your sketch to help you, and make sure you have enough space between each plant. Be wary of air pockets when planting, and provide plenty of water to settle the soi to ensure maximum growth.
The last step in the process is not absolutely necessary, but it is helpful: mulching. Simply cover the newly-planted flowers with compost to keep moisture in and weeds out.
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Written by Laurie Kulikowski