Gardening is creative, rewarding, fun, and the perfect activity for all people belonging to different age groups, communities, and lifestyles. Nothing is nicer and satisfying than eating self-grown, healthy, and contaminants-free food, enjoying the amazing fragrance of self-grown flowers, and the presence of beautiful, and colorful birds and beneficial insects in the living and workspaces.
Although, gardening may seem like a simple and easy doing task, quality production and the right maintenance require some specific management and care. While everyone may not be fully aware of essential gardening practices, caring measures, and the impact of prevailing climatic conditions of growing plants. Therefore, this article is mainly intended to provide a comprehensive guideline and sound understanding of gardening for beginners.
Site selection is the most important factor that affects the overall prosperity and health status of growing plants because different plants have certain requirements for ambient air, temperature, shade, sunlight, and humidity. Therefore, the selection of the best possible site that can provide optimal growing conditions for specific plants is critically important to promote the germination, growth, development, and production potential of plants. The selected site should also be able to provide good drainage so that the problem of fungal attack, root rotting, standing water conditions, and disease outbreak can be avoided.
Soils in different regions and climatic conditions have different structures, and therefore there is a greater variation in the physical, chemical, and biological properties of soils. All kinds of soil are not capable of supporting maximum plant growth as they have different ratios of supporting soil biodiversity, water holding capacity, drainage, aeration, nutrient solubility and bioavailability to the plants and nutrient exchange capacities.
Even though gardeners can never replace the whole soil in the garden, but they can significantly improve the quality of earlier existing soil by the addition of good quality potting mix, compost, properly treated kitchen waste, farmyard manure, plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria, and biofertilizers.
Moreover, they can also take soil from any good site such as hill areas, or nearby empty areas to make a good top layer of about 0-30 cm in their gardens. But they may need permission from authorities to collect soil from any other space. Moreover, soil testing is also a must approach to know the levels of nutrients and contaminants (if any) in the soil. A good knowledge about soil fertility helps to optimize the application of organic and inorganic fertilizers to support maximum growth and production. Different regional agricultural research institutes and agricultural extension workers are offering services to help homeowners and gardeners with soil testing and optimized nutrient application practices.
Watering is a critical factor affecting all the stages of a plant’s life cycle, such as germination, growth, development, reproduction, flowering, fruit formation, seed setting, and harvesting. Different plants have different irrigation requirements at their different growth stages so irrigation scheduling must be adjusted according to plant needs. The wetting and during status of soil should also be checked before the next watering as complete saturated conditions do not leave any space for aeration, and other biological activities.
Some people simply start watering plants during their free time or according to their interests. This practice should be strongly discouraged, and watering actions should only be performed at dawn and dusk. Irrigation in the noon is never recommended as it may affect the overall health and survival capability of plants. Moreover, transpiration and evaporation rates are maximum at this time due to intense heat so it will cause a great loss of applied water. Drip irrigation and sprinkler irrigation systems can be used for more uniform coverage and water conservation.
Selection of Plants
Beginners should always select the easy-growing flowers, vegetables, and shrubs as they may not be able to care for and manage the different toxicities, deficiencies, and stresses symptoms. Initially, the growers may not be able to visualize and differentiate the symptoms. Whereas, adoption management and mitigation practices are also dependent on the right identification of the problem so any misunderstanding or mismanagement can greatly affect the overall growth and health of plants.
Attract and Support Beneficial Organisms
The success rate of gardening and overall production potential of plants can be greatly improved by the provision of favorable conditions to the beneficial insects and birds. These organisms are essentially helpful for pollination and also reduce the problem of pests by feeding on them. Therefore, gardeners should use organic management practices to sustain their population. Moreover, artificial, habitat and freshwater should also be provided to attract these organisms in their growing spaces.
Gardening requires good care, right management to support maximum plant growth, development, and yield production. Optimization of growing conditions according to plant requirements can greatly improve the quality and quantity of produce. Beginners should be especially careful about site selection, nutrients application, use of synthetic chemicals, watering, drainage, and tillage practices as any mismanagement can affect the overall health of the garden.
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photo by: priscilla du preez