PhotoGardening seems so basic -- you get some dirt, a few plants, dig a hole and plop them in. What could really go wrong? A lot, and although seedlings aren’t that expensive, add them up and you find that you have a mini investment, not to mention all that time on your knees.

There are some gardening basics that can help you keep your investment and watch it thrive not expire.

You can be your own worst enemy in this whole process. The attitude of “there in no better day than tomorrow” to do something can actually cost you. Reword it so that it flows with “don’t put off tomorrow what you can do today.”  It really will save you. You buy a few plants and they cost a bit and they are rare but by the time you decide to get up off the couch or away from the computer they have died alongside the house waiting to be nourished in some decent soil. The answer is buy them and get to work.

About that soil -- it can be tricky knowing what is the right kind for your little seedlings to grow. There are different kinds of potting soil and soil for your garden.  Have a soil test done to find out what your soil needs are based on what you want to grow. Your local garden store can probably assist with this as well.

You can’t go wrong with compost it is always a welcome added attraction. It will help give your plants the added nutrients to make them healthy and strong.

A common mistake many people make is planting things too close together. Avoid crowding, and you will have fewer problems with disease and damaging insects. Crowding will weaken your plants, as there is too much competition for air and sun. They are sensitive little beings.

Beware of overly aggressive plants. Just like humans they can cause issues with the daily flow of life and before you know it they have taken over your garden. They will usually be labeled “vigorous grower” or “prolific re-seeder.” 

Try not to be a helicopter plant parent -- give your plants some room to breathe and don’t water them every time you go to check on them you will kill them with love. If you have many container plants they do need the extra water and attention. The foliage many times forms an umbrella, which allows rain and irrigation to roll off.

If you make some mistakes which all of us do, make note of them so next year you will be that much farther ahead with your growth spurt.


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