Feel like fancying up the yard or making this the year that you put together a farmer’s market worthy vegetable garden? Before you get started, do a little homework so that you can avoid these 7 Common, Costly Mistakes When Buying Garden Plants.
1. Not Knowing Your Growing Zone
Before buying any garden plants, learn what growing/hardiness zone you live in. In the United States, the USDA offers a handy interactive map. Just pop in your zip code, hit locate and you will taken to a closeup of your zone. Click on that closeup and it will give you specific details about your hardiness number.
If you are planning to buy your garden plants at a big-box retailer, many of the plants will have markers sticking up out of them that give information about their recommended planting zones. Ask an associate for names of the plants that are not marked and google the recommended zones for them. Do not skip this step, as retailers will sometimes stock showier plants that are not suited for the zone where the store is located.
At local plant nurseries, seek the help of an employee in guiding you to suitable plants. A sign of a good local nursery is one that can offer lots of insight into what works and what doesn’t right where you live.
2. Failing To Get A Soil Test
I will totally admit that it took some wasted hard-earned cash for me to take this one to heart. I went out and bought a bunch of gardenias (acidic soil lovers), only to learn when they ALL quickly died that my soil has a basic ph. Local ag extension offices can test soil samples for you or tell you who can. I recommend this method over do-it-yourself kits.
3. Not Learning How Much Sun Your Planting Areas Get
Buying a shade plant and putting it in an area that ends up receiving 6 hours a day of sun will not work out too well. The plant will roast and suffer an early demise. Observe your yard’s sun and shade patterns over the course of a few days before heading out to buy plants.
4. Forgetting to Do Your Homework On The Most Disease Resistant Versions of Fruits and Vegetables To Plant In Your Location
Your state or regional agricultural extension service’s website or phone help line can be a great place to get this information. Each growing zone and geographic area is subject to its own pest and viral problems. Ag extensions will be familiar with the best plants with which to fill your vegetable garden.
5. Planting At The Wrong Time Of Year
Jumping the gun and putting tomato plants in the garden before freezing weather is over or putting in a bunch of new shrubbery in the heat of summer, can easily mean wasted money. Pay attention to guidelines of when to plant for your hardiness zone.
6. Crowding Plants Too Close Together When Putting Them In the Ground
All the bushes, flowers, and trees may look great planted right together when you initially put them in the ground. As they grow though, this crowding can spell not enough space, too much competition for resources, and ultimately plant death.
7. Overestimating The Time That You Have To Maintain Your Garden
Blown away by the look of that full-yard butterfly garden in the magazine? How much time do you have to devote to garden maintenance? You are better off starting small and working your way up to more plants if your time allows.
Simply by avoiding these 7 Common and Costly Mistakes When Buying Garden Plants, you can save yourself lots of time, stress, and money.
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