Start with great soil and you will wind up with great plants. Healthy plants get fewer diseases, attract less insect pests, and require less water.

Plus you will not have to remember to fertilizer every other week. Start with a good analysis of your existing soil, since you may already have all the essential nutrients tested or just the pH.

If your soil is deficient in any minerals or nutrients, amend the soil according to recommended methods. Then keep adding organic matter, like compost, regularly.

Slow release, organic fertilizers can help supplement deficient nutrients. But feeding plants with synthetic fertilizers can actually destroy the beneficial organisms and organic matter within soil and only provide a short fix.

Group greens by their right needs to yield the best harvest. Of course you are going to want to put sun lovers in the sun and ground covers where they can roam.

But consider how efficient it would be if you put all your water hogs together so you could just turn on the sprinklers or drag the hose to one area and be done. The same goes for plants that require a lot of deadheading or vegetables that need to be harvested daily or hourly, like zucchini.

You can still mix in different bloom times and variations in color, form and texture. It is just the heavy maintenance chores that should be consolidated.

There will always be high maintenance plants you have to have, but make the backbone of your terrace perennial flowers that can take care of themselves. Plants like Astilbes and Sedums that look good all season and don’t need deadheading, pinching or staking.

It is much easier to control your terrace if it has definite boundaries. Containers provide the ultimate in control by allowing you to manage the soil, water, exposure and even limit the growth of the greens in the container.

Raised beds separate the terrace beds from their surroundings. Ideally, lift the beds up by 6 inches or more.

Install drip irrigation. There is an initial cost, although nowhere near what you might fear, and you will need to do some measuring.

But unless you rely solely on rain to water your terraces, you will actually save money in the long run. Drip irrigation is far more efficient than any other type of watering, and it puts all the water right where your greens need it.

Add an inexpensive timer and think of all the time you’ve saved yourself. Mulch makes a terrace look more attractive, but it also keeps the soil and plant roots cool, retains moisture so you can water less often, prevents weed seeds from seeing the light of day and sprouting and feeds the soil.

It is not practical to use compost or plot soil in containers. Some supplemental feeding is necessary to keep the plants going.

Containers also dry out more quickly than garden bed soil, especially if the bed is mulched. Start your container gardening season by adding some slow release fertilizer pellets and some polymer crystals that grab, hold and slowly release water to the roots.

A lot of gardening is repetitive motion and can be very stressful on the joints, especially the wrists and back. Thankfully garden tool companies have been coming out with more and better tools that work with the body, taking some of the bending and squeezing out of garden work.

Look around for ratchet pruners, bent rakes, cushioned handles and trowels that will not require you to bend your wrist. Get yourself at least one good garden cart or wheelbarrow and do not go out into the plot without it.

You can tote your tools, move plants, harvest, toss weeds right into it, and glide down to the compost heap. No matter how small your plot is, you will get more done with wheels.

Tom Selwick has worked the past 22 years in the lawn care industry. He suggests usingLawn Service Norcross for a quality lawn.

Contact Info:
Tom Selwick
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A charm in the garden
Dedicated to Gartenzauber (Rosemarie), garden charm (magic) in German, for her constant gentle comments for which I thank her

– Un ensorcelement au jardin
By Pensive glance on 2012-09-12 09:44:25
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