DIY Tips for Planting your Garden
Now that you have a garden bed filled with rich soil, it is time to start planting in it! From here, you have two choices. You can either plant seeds or purchase mature plants. Or, you may choose to do a combination of both.
Selecting Healthy Plants for Your Garden
When you first walk into a nursery, every plant may look healthy and of high quality. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. In addition to being disappointed by the performance of the plant if you choose one that is unhealthy, you also may bring some diseases back to your other plants or to your soil. Therefore, you need to take a few easy steps – just as easy as becoming a Reiki master – to make sure the plants you select are healthy and perfect for adding to your garden.
The first thing you need to examine is the overall quality of the nursery. Do the plants seem to be generally well cared for and healthy? Do the employees seem to understand how to care for the plants? Are they able to provide you with proper advice for their care and maintenance? All of these factors will help you determine if you should turn around and run out of the nursery or if it just might be a good place to purchase a healthy plant.
Next, take a look at the foliage of the plants for sale. Once you find a plant you are interested in purchasing, check to be sure the leaves are shiny, green, and lush. If the leaves are yellowing or wilting, it is best to leave it at the nursery. These plants probably are not diseased, so they will not cause harm to your garden. Rather, the wilting and yellow color is a sign that the plant is stressed. You can never be sure if a stressed plant will recover. If you are feeling confident in your gardening skills, you might still take this one home if it is on sale for a great price. Or, ask one of the employees if he or she will discount the plant for you because of its condition.
After inspecting the foliage of the plant, look at its overall shape. A compact plant that is full and has multiple stems is usually better than a tall plant. In fact, a tall plant is often an indication that the plant has been straining to find light. As a result, it can grow to be thin and spindly, which means the plant may break easily or may require staking in order to keep it upright once you place it in your garden.
Insects and Disease
In order to keep the other plants in your garden safe, you will also need to inspect the plant for signs of insects and diseases. To do this, look at both sides of the leaves as well as in the potting soil. If you see holes, blackened areas, spots, distortions, or mushy areas, the plant may be infected. A sticky feeling on the leaves or on the soil are also bad signs.
We discussed plants that are root bound earlier in this guide. It is best to avoid root bound plants whenever possible because being root bound is stressful on the plant, as is snipping away at the roots later. Of course, you cannot always tell if a plant is root bound while it is at the store because it is inside a pot.
You can, however, look for roots growing out of the bottom of the pot or even roots that have grown to the top of the soil. Both are signs that the plant has become root bound. You may want to stay away from these plants because it can take some time for them to recover from the condition.
On the other end of the spectrum, you may find a plant that easily lifts out of the pot and has no signs of roots. This indicates the plant was recently repotted. In this case, it is usually best to let the plant remain in the pot for awhile before attempting to transplant it to your garden.
The stem of the plant is another important area to inspect. If the plant you are considering purchasing is thick or woody, check for cracks or scars from previous breaks. Prior damage to the stems can still cause the plant to be weakened overall, so it is best to stay away from those that have been damaged.
You should also look for weeds growing in the pot along with the plant. Weeds in the pot are a sign that the plant has been neglected.
In addition, it means your plant has been fighting with the weed for nutrients. As a result, it can be week and unhealthy. Furthermore, you do not want to bring new weeds home with you when you purchase a new plant.
If you are purchasing a balled-and-burlapped shrub or tree, you should also inspect the root ball. It should feel solid and should not appear to be broken. If it has been broken, the roots may have become dried out and the plant will have a difficult time adjusting and growing.
Flowers Vs. Buds
It is also best to purchase new plants before they have flowered. If you are purchasing a plant at about the time it should flower, select those with buds rather than those that have flowered. Budded plants transplant better than those with flowers. In addition, the flowers often wilt away when transplanted. Plants with buds, on the other hand, will usually still bloom and provide you with wonderful flowers to enjoy in your garden rather than in the store.
In the end, nearly any plant may be able to be saved. So, if you see one that you really have to have but you know it isn’t healthy, you can still go ahead and purchase it. Just be prepared to give it a little pampering. If it is diseased or has insects, however, it is not worth risking the health of your other plants.