LOOK at your garden EVERY day.
Walk out and look at it, see a weed? pull it! plants look droopy? water them. What do you see when you look? The plant above is turning yellow, what does that mean? Now if you are new you will have to do a little research. First ask what has been happening with the weather? Look around, are other plants doing the same thing?
We had a lot of rain, this plant looks like it has been overwatered, (plants tend to yellow with too much water). But the other plants are fine.....hmmmm I see it is also not spreading out like the others, it probably is a plant with some root damage and it is dying, see the hole next to it? Same thing happened there, buying plants from greenhouses, you can always run the risk of a few week rooted in your group. If you see these when you transplant, take special care or return the cell pack.
whoa!! my peas look like they are dying??? yep, they are. why? peas hate hot weather, they have been producing well but now they are dying at the bottom of the stem. Planted early in the Spring because they are tolerant of cold weather, peas are shorter lived, now.....I can plant new seed that will produce later in summer when it begins to cool again.
I see two things here.
One is looking like a funny flower on the chard, should chard bloom?
No, not unless you want it to. Many plants will try to set seed, especially spinach, chard, rhubarb, this is weather related, just pinch it off.
Two, looks like someone is eating my cabbage, is this a problem?
LOOK at the whole row- Seems to be isolated, probably just a hungry Caterpillar that has moved on. Soon I will begin to see a lot of cabbage moths, they get very aggressive with laying eggs in the mid summer. this is your call, you can net, treat with an organic method, or a chemical, or you can feed the young of the moth.
Not all bugs are bad, if you want to be a serious gardener, get a good book and look up your bugs, some are great! Some are not! Remember if you treat for bad bugs you will kill the good bugs too, so be selective, treat only plants showing damage. Remove what bugs you can-(ex caterpillars by hand) be preventative by knowing what your plant is susceptible to. I know the vine squash borer shows up every year and kills my squash plant, this year I have been watching for the adult, as soon as I spotted him I put Sevin on the squash plants. Doing this now will hopefully do away with the young and help me avoid using any product then the plants begin to produce.
my Hostas are not blooming, why? Everyone else's are. If I step back I can see I large tree that has been giving them too much shade. Successional gardening....this means as your garden grows....so do your trees, shrubs, and everything else, effecting your light source, what grew well one year may not do so well in the years to come. LOOK when you plant, consider your light source, your shade source, and think 5 and 10 years down the line.
LOOK! why is there a pansy in the garden?
Plants that self seed- be aware of these. One unavoidable gardener is the bird, little birdy will pick up and drop seeds all over, this is probably why the pansy ended up here, next to the squash.
Other plants that self seed are wonderful, for years I picked out tiny little weed looking things here, where I plant Snapdragons every year...guess what? This year I didn't pick them out, all of those are self seeding Snaps!
And be aware of aggressive self seeders. LOOK! Morning glories out of control! Slow to get started, don't make the mistake of adding more seeds, wow- they definitely come back! Everywhere, to help avoid this, remove the seed pods when they form after the bloom.
LOOK! watch you plants, learn the parts and the life cycle, this holly hock show the bud, bloom, and seed pod all at once. If you want to control your self seeding, remove seed pods of plants. Share them with your friends too.
What happens when you don't control your plants?
I see Hollyhocks, Monarda, and Sedum all in each others way, someone will pay for this, and it will probably be the least aggressive plant- the Monarda, you can barely see it already.
As I LOOK to the most aggressive plant in my garden, Chinese Lantern, I see something odd? what is that?
Things like this need another look, it could be a nest of harmful bugs, turns out this is a web with Ash tree fuzz collecting on it. (no fuzz is not a correct gardening term, but I am so sick of this stuff!)
Plants like this propagate by seed pods and under ground roots, They say after a nuclear explosion there will be only cockroaches and twinkies left....I say Chinese Lantern will survive. The only reasons I keep it around are 1- I love the red lanterns it produces in the fall and 2- I cannot kill it, really, I have tried.
Another example of overcrowding is here in the herbs. The oregano is overtaking the box and needs to be thinned. Why so much about overcrowding?
I have found two consistent gardening "problems"
1- people plant too sparse in their vegetable gardens. SEE HERE
2- People plant too close in flower gardens
Let's look at number too first, perennials take a while to get going, so...we tend to plant too many, not liking that empty space between them.
Here is a rule on perennials
first year they sleep
second year they creep
third year they leap
To avoid the urge to overplant, place your perennials with enough growth room and fill in with annuals the first two years.
As for under planting gardens. Go up!! Make wide rows, gone are the days of wide dirt rows you could drag a plow through. (Note this is for smaller gardens, not large) Place lots of things for your plants to climb on, then support large fruit (squash, melons, etc) with nylons or old socks tied like little hammocks to your supports.
So go out every day and LOOK at your garden.
ASK what is going on?
RESEARCH the problem
LEARN about your plants
Take the time to really enjoy your garden.
Cottage Garden Party
blessings and thanks for visiting