Everyone loves a beautiful garden. Thriving, healthy plants, flowers and home grown vegetables quickly become noticed by neighbours, family and guests. Gardens not only can be an excellent source of food but they also bring happiness and revival. Discover 5 musts on how you can create a beautiful healthy garden for your home or business.
1. Preparation Is Key
Preparation is key. “You are what you eat,” is a common saying for humans, however; the same applies to plants. Plants derive their food from the soil and their leaves. If a seed is sown in poor quality, low nutrient soil, the plant will struggle looking thin and weak. Establishing a good healthy garden bed, suited to the plants, is essential for strong, big, healthy yielding plants.
Firstly we must look at the soil. Is it dry, hard and full of clay or is it really sandy? If you said, “yes” to any of these then you will need to improve the soil before planting.
To do this you are going to need some good quality soil or potting mix, organic matter, fertiliser and hay (optional).
Firstly you are going to want to break up the soil. If the soil is extremely dry and hard, it can help to give the soil a good soaking prior attempting to plunge a shovel into it. Once the soil has had time to soak in the water you can begin breaking it up and removing any weeds with a sharp shovel and/or hoe. This can be gruelling work but well worth doing properly. The more weeds you dispose of, roots and all, during this stage the less likely they are to return later on in your established garden. Try and break up as deep as you can, at least 25-30cm of topsoil is ideal, making it easy to pull out weeds and provides adequate existing soil to mix with new improved soil.
With the hard part done, now it is time to layer some organic matter on top.
Rake the soil level and pour over a thick layer of organic matter, enough so you can’t see the soil underneath. Organic matter can include matter such as manures (horse, chicken or cow manure is great), leaf mulch and organic fruit and vegetable compost.
Now follows the rich, fertile soil or potting mix. You should notice a lovely difference in colour and moisture already. You can continue to build up your garden in layers to obtain the right level for your needs. Once you are happy with the level of your garden bed, allow this to sit and bond for at least 2 weeks, watering twice a week, before digging it up again to combine the layers. You can add a layer of hay on top to help assist with keeping moisture in and speed up the fermentation process, breaking down the organic matter.
The second soil turn should be total bliss in comparison to the first dig, after the two weeks of fermentation. Thoroughly combine the layers, breaking up clumps and removing any twigs, stones and root balls that may have been missed. A final rake over will leave you with a rich, ready to plant garden bed just waiting to be shared.
Note: If you added the hay on top, remove this before turning the soil in for the second time. This will make your job a lot easier.
2. Planting According to Your Area & Climate
In the natural world, you would only find particular plants thriving in their country/habitat of origin, however; through travel, our gardens can now be home to a diverse range of plant life from around the world. The key to successful planting is doing your homework and researching the plant’s ideal climate, season, soil and planting position that they thrive in. Some plants love full sun, while others will wilt if placed in the same position. Others will only thrive in spring while another is green all year round. Ask your local gardening professional and pay attention to the planting guide on seedlings and plants prior to buying your plants. Always ensure that they will suit your particular climate, this may vary in different areas of Brisbane, some areas being hotter or more coastal than others.
Planning your garden structure prior planting is also a good idea. If you want a tiered garden then you will need to plant according to approximate plant growth heights, bearing in mind ideal plant spacing as well.
Always make sure when removing plants from pots your don’t damage the plant. Firmly tap the bottom of the pot and gently squeezing the sides slightly will help release the plant. Dig a hole twice the width of the plant and deep enough that the ground is level with the base of the plant, gently scooping the soil loosely back around it. Do not press too hard on the soil around the base, you do not want to damage the roots or suffocate the plant.
Follow planting with a good watering, this removes air bubbles from the soil and tucks the soil in close to the roots, whilst providing your new plants with a good drink. A soluble fertiliser for seedlings and transplanted plants is also recommended to reduce and stress to the plant, giving them a little boost.
Deciduous: This term refers to plants which die down, often losing their leaves during a particular period of their growing cycle where it lays dormant, flourishing again in their peak season.
Evergreen: Refers to plants which are not deciduous, meaning they remain green and luscious all year round.
Annual: Annual plants have a lifespan of approximately one year, needing to be reseeded if not self-seeding.
Biennial: These plants have a lifespan of approximately 2 years, often flowing or fruiting in the second year before dying. These plants may need to be replanted if not self-seeding.
Perennial: Perennial plants live longer than 2 years and can be deciduous or evergreen.
Herbaceous: This term refers to plants which foliage is soft and fluffy rather than hard and woody.
3. Watering Regularly
Ideal watering will depend on the plant type, season and climate, however generally for most plants you will need to water daily. It is best to water in the morning during the cooler months, however; you may need to water twice a day in the hot Queensland Summer months, especially for potted plants. Succulents, natives and plants that prefer dry conditions will only require a thorough watering twice a week. Roses require deep watering in the morning, two to three times a week, in the cooler months, daily in the hot summer months. It is recommended to not water late in the evening, especially for roses, as wet leaves of a nighttime encourage mould and disease to form.
4. Mulching Is Important
Mulching is crucial in the hot Australian summer months as it helps the soil retain moisture, preventing dry soil and unnecessary watering. Mulch can include matter such as woodchip, bark, hay, straw, rocks and pebbles which you can buy from your local garden supplier or hire a gardener/landscaper to bring to you. If you are doing it yourself, apply a generous layer around plants, not too close to the base of the plant, ensuring you can’t see the soil underneath. Give it a good soaking afterwards to help settle the mulch into place, reducing dust.
5. Feed Your Plants
Plants don’t need much fertilising if they are planted in nutrient-rich soil. Fertilisers are a bit like a vitamin supplement for plants. They are excellent during the warmers seasons, for the first month after planting, after stress periods and for general plant optimal health. Organic fertilisers are great for providing your plants with long term nutrients due to their slow-release formulas, they are also easy to use due to this, making it harder to over do it. Water soluble fertilisers are great for providing plants with immediate nutrients as they are drawn directly with the water into the roots and leaves.
If you are unsure talk to your local gardening supplier or gardener about finding suitable fertilisers for your garden.
By following this simple guide, before you know it you will have a thriving garden, brimming with fresh flowers, delicious fruit, veggies, herbs and luscious foliages that will be sure to amaze. Happy Gardening!
Do you need help with your garden? Our expert gardeners can help take care of all your gardening and maintenance needs throughout Brisbane and South East Queensland.
Get a free quote today, contact Grahams Garden Care on 1300134035.