Start at the beginning of the series here.
You plant your garden and weed it. Done? My friends, youre just beginning.
Whether you want your flowers to blossom throughout the summer, or your vegetables to taste delicious, you need to parent your soil as best as possible. Heres how to bring out your nurturing side with your hands deep in the dirt:
1. Watch your water. When seedlings are small, you don’t want to drown them, so water with a light mist. When they are starting to blossom and fruit, like teenagers going through a growth spurt, they need a little more. At this point of their growth process, give them a good soak two times a week, but keep watering lightly on the other days.
2. Know your fertilizer. Not all plants crave the same nutrients. Nitrogen, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium or potassium are the common requests, and you can know your plants preference through Google, or through our cheat sheet. Take a look at the leaves of your plants: Nitrogen deficiencies lead to yellow and brown leaves; phosphorus deficiencies lead to purple-veined and slow-growing leaves and potassium deficiencies show as curled, distorted leaves. You’re welcome.
3. Be conservative with fertilizer. If you use too much potassium, for example, it can lead to a magnesium deficiency. However, if this happens, you can spray one part Epsom salts to five parts water on and around the plant. All plants have different needs, but many need as little fertilizer as one time a month. Less work for you!
4. Make your own fertilizer. There are countless natural fertilizer options, like coffee grounds, which are rich in phosphorus and potassium and can be dried in your oven for a nice smelling kitchen and easy to sprinkle fertilizer. You can also let old weeds rot in water or compost and bring them back to your garden for the ultimate recycling project.
5. Natural pesticides. You don’t want your vegetables pumped with chemicals that you would never accept from your grocer. Luckily, there are a ton of homemade options. From beer trapping slugs (yes, they like the brew as much as the rest of us!) to tobacco spray (great way to use those leftover cigarettes if you’re an ex-smoker) there are a ton of easy and fun ideas. All you need is a spray bottle to show those pests who’s boss. Go ahead. Make our day.
If you see a ladybug in your garden, be grateful that you have a sous-gardener. These delicate insects eat aphids, mites and other unwanted pests, and you can attract them by planting daisies. Or you can order some online.
Just make sure to let your roommate know whats in the box (or make a YouTube video guaranteed to get some views!).