The Inspector

By NPI, Inc.



5 Ways to Get Your Green Thumb in Gear this Spring

 April 12, 2021 |  DIY, Just for Fun |  spring, home exterior, lawn care, garden

April is Lawn and Garden Month, so what better time to start a new landscaping project? A simple garden can add curb appeal to your home, and it’s a fun hobby for warm days. But sometimes it’s frustrating if you seem to have more of a brown thumb than a green one. Try out these tips to turn your yard into a colorful explosion of flowers this spring and break your “cultivating curse.”

Know what’s in the ground around you.
Mixing your garden’s soil to just the right combination of fertilizer, mulch, and other nutrients is like a balancing act. So how do you get to the sweet spot for optimal plant growth? The first step is knowing what’s in your soil naturally. Clay, sand, silt, and loam are the four main soil types, and each has their own effect on growing. 

  • Clay has small, dense particles that hold on to water and nutrients longer, but doesn’t drain well. 
  • Sand has larger particles that allow for the easy passage of nutrients and won’t retain water as easily. 
  • Silt contains very fine particles that inhibit water flow (similar to clay). 
  • Loam is considered the best soil for growing, as it’s a combination of the other three types. 

Figuring out your soil’s pH balance also plays a big role in how well your plants grow. You can perform a pH test yourself, and they’ll help you gauge what other organic substances to add. You might have to experiment a bit with different mulches and compost, but when you strike soil gold you’ll be growing in no time!

Get the right amount of sun.
Different plants require their own amount of sunlight to bloom and thrive. Luckily, most plants are labeled with their care instructions as to how much sun they’ll need. Full sun plants need at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. Part sun and part shade plants need between three to six hours of sunlight, and part shade requires protection from intense midday sun. Full shade plants only need three hours at the most of direct sun to be able to survive. If you notice your plants have trouble blooming or are wilting and drying out, it’s a safe bet that they’re in the wrong place. Knowing what parts of your garden receive the most sunlight during the day and how intense the rays are helps you decide what to plant where.

Get the right amount of water.
Along with sunshine, watering your plants enough impacts how they’ll bloom. For starters, don’t waste your water. Watering during the heat of the day is likely to evaporate, and you should instead water at night or during the early morning while it’s still cool. Lightly water around the base of your plants so you don’t damage the leaves or flowers. Use a shower setting on your hose nozzle, especially on younger plants that are fragile. You can also use irrigation systems to water them during warmer days. These systems tend to work better than sprinklers that throw quickly-evaporating water into the air. Take into account your soil and flower type to get the right weathering schedule for growing plants.

Do your best to keep intruders away.
Pests both big and small can wreak havoc on your garden. Pesticides do a good job of deterring common insects and animals, but they have the potential to also harm your flowers. The good news is that there are lots of holistic options. Simply keeping your flowers healthy makes them less appealing to hungry bugs and they won't be as likely to chow down. If you notice that your garden is a hotbed for slugs, your favorite lager could do the trick. Put a small container of alcohol in the ground to attract and trap the slugs. You can even use crushed eggshells in the soil to make the ground hard to maneuver for crawling slugs and bugs. For larger animals like rabbits or birds, a fence or canopy is your best bet. You can also provide an alternative food source to draw them away from your flowers. Don’t forget to also pull weeds out to keep them from taking over.

Start out with some easy choices.
To improve your gardening technique and your confidence, start off with plants that are a bit more rugged. Here are a few you can pick out next time you go to your local gardening store: 

  • Sunflowers 
  • Marigolds 
  • Impatients 
  • Fuchsias 
  • Pansies 
  • Geraniums 
  • Dahlias 

You don’t have to be a professional to have a beautiful garden this spring. With just a little know-how you can have a front-page flower bed!

For all your home inspection needs, contact your local NPI professional today!

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