When you start gardening there are so many questions you never thought you’d ask! What soil is best? When should I prune my shrubs? Where should I plant a tree to make sure it’s getting enough sunlight? These are all things that our landscaping team at Michaelangelo’s Sustainable Landscape and Design Group knows like the back of our hand, but just like you, we’re always learning! In today’s blog post, we’re sharing a few basic gardening tips to help you find answers to some of the most common questions beginners have. Continue reading to learn more, and if you’d rather leave your yard to the pros, contact us for landscaping services in Atlanta!

Know Your Hardiness Zone

Here in Atlanta, we’re in USDA hardiness zone 7b, and knowing this helps you know where a plant can grow well as well as what times of year you can plant different things. If you want a shrub or tree to survive and thrive year after year, you have to plant something that can tolerate your hardiness zone. That includes the highest and lowest temperatures as well as average rainfall. Although there are a variety of other factors that affect a plant’s ability to survive, the hardiness zone is a good place to start! When you go to your local garden store, be sure that you’re picking out plants that will work here in Atlanta.

Follow the Sun

Many beginners misjudge sunlight. When planting, you’ll need to pay attention to where the sun moves through your yard. If you’re planting a vegetable garden, remember that most edible plants need at least six 6hours of sun. When we provide landscaping services, part of the planning process includes figuring out what types of plants will thrive in what areas of your yard. 

Start With Great Soil 

Invest in the soil! After all, it’s what is providing your plants with the nutrients they need. Drainage is also important. If you’re applying manure, you need to apply only composted, rotted manure that has cured for at least six months. Fresh manure is high in nitrogen and can actually burn plants. It also might contain parasites that could damage your plants.

Plant At The Right Time Of Year

Even though we have relatively mild winters here in Atlanta, it’s still not a great idea to plant a whole garden in January. Gardening takes planning and an understanding of seasonal cycles and weather patterns. If you’re considering a vegetable garden, here’s a general planting guide to follow: 

Try Containers

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by all of the factors involved in gardening, a good place to start is with a container garden. You can plant all sorts of things in pots, including vegetables, herbs, flowers, shrubs, and even fruit trees. They’re also great if you have a smaller space. Just be sure to use potting soil. 

Deadheading

Blooming shrubs are one of the most beautiful things you can have in your yard. If you have these plants in your yard, it’s a good idea to get into the practice of deadheading. Deadheading is simply removing spent flowers in order to encourage more flowering. Removing these dead blooms tells the plant to use its energy to grow more flowers and invest in growing stronger leaves and roots instead of producing seeds. 

Eat As Soon As Your Plants Are Ready

If you’re growing edible plants, most of them will finish their entire life cycle in 90 days. That’s a pretty fast growing cycle, so you should take advantage of the plants when they’re at their most delicious stage. If they’re thinking or looking less healthy after they’ve been producing, it’s most likely not because of your care, but rather that they’re simply at the end of their life cycle. 

Water The Soil

Spraying water all over the top of your garden can be fun, but you needcan to water the soil, not the leaves. In fact, getting water all over the leaves can actually contribute to more diseases. You should also be careful to water enough, but not too much. The easiest way to water a container or garden bed is by counting to three seconds with the water still pooled on top. That means that the water has drenched the soil, all the way down to the roots. 

The question of how often to water is a bit more difficult to answer. There are a variety of factors, including whether you’ve mulched or not, how hot it is, what point in the season you’re at, what the weather is like, how big the plant is, and more!

Cut Yourself Some Slack!

When you’re gardening, you’re always learning! In order to become a more advanced gardener, you’ll simply have to garden. You’ll learn things as you go. When you get a disease on your plant, you’ll learn about that disease and then learn how to try to prevent it in the future. If you feel like you’re failing, cut yourself some slack! You’ll kill a lot of plants, and you’ll just have to learn by doing. You can also try getting a mentor, joining a local gardening club, or leaving the big landscaping services to the pros while you focus on smaller projects, like a flower bed or vegetable garden. 

Michaelangelo’s Sustainable Landscape and Design Group

Our Atlanta landscaping company is proud to provide our Atlanta community with the very best in landscape design. We provide a variety of professional landscaping services including turf care, hardscapes, irrigation, and landscape lighting. We serve customers in Alpharetta, Marietta, Roswell, and everywhere in between. Contact us today for a free estimate on your lawn care!