Gardening season is finally here! You may be envisioning all the herbs, flowers, and vegetables you’ll harvest at the end of the season. But you’ll need to put in hard work – not to mention money – to make your dream garden a reality.
To make a success of your garden and stay on budget, BBB recommends the following tips:
Make a Success of Your Garden
- Plan ahead. If you are starting a garden from scratch, think carefully about what kind of plants you want to cultivate and where they will thrive best in your yard. You may need to remove grass in order to get started. Check the content and pH of your soil before you start planting and make amendments as needed.
- Research garden centers and landscaping companies. Before you head out to buy the supplies you need for your garden, find a reputable business to purchase from. Keep in mind that national chains often have low prices and good return policies, but they may not stock a wide variety of plant or accommodate specialty plant orders. Do a search on BBB.org to find a BBB Accredited Business with good consumer reviews to ensure you’ll receive quality service and products. If you plan to hire extra help to get your garden thriving, you can look up landscaping, lawn maintenance, and irrigation specialists too.
- Ask for advice. Plant nurseries usually have knowledgeable staff to help you out with your gardening questions. If there are certain plants or gardening techniques you aren’t sure about, ask nursery salespeople for their best tips.
- Know what you are buying. It’s a good idea to ask garden center staff if plants were grown locally or in a greenhouse somewhere else. They may do well in the garden center’s controlled environment, but will they flourish in your garden zone and climate? Will they survive if planted outdoors? If you are buying seeds, can they be planted directly outdoors or do you need to start them indoors first? When in doubt, ask!
- Inspect plants before you purchase. When you find the perfect plant for your garden, take a closer look. Apartment Therapy advises, “If the foliage is droopy, discolored, or crispy around the edges, be wary and try to find a different plant.” In addition, make sure there is no crusty residue and white or brown specks, which could indicate there are pests living in the potting soil. If they go unnoticed, pests brought home from a garden center can quickly infest the rest of your indoor and even outdoor plants.
- Find out when and how to fertilize. Better Homes & Gardens notes that “If you enriched the soil with compost before you planted, you may not need to do any additional fertilizing. Then again, some vegetables are heavy feeders and may need a quick-release fertilizer every three to four weeks.” Garden center experts can help you determine when and how to fertilize if you are just starting out.
- Understand plant return policies. Return policies vary from store to store, so get to know store policies before making any major purchases. Some nurseries will give you a free replacement for a diseased plant, others may have stricter “no refund/exchange” policies.
- Weigh the pros and cons of buying clearance plants. You may find a great deal on end-of-the-season plants but inspect them closely before taking them home. The Spruce reminds consumers that clearance plants may be root bound, drought-stressed, or hiding weeds or pests. Make sure the plant is in good health before you buy it.
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