How to - Gardening Basics

20 expert tips to make you a better gardener

Work smarter with a little hard-won wisdom from the pros

11. Always water in the early morning; 
it reduces loss to evaporation 
and foliage dries off more quickly (helping to discourage disease problems). — Stephen Westcott-Gratton

12. Observe and chart where the sunlight falls in your garden throughout the course of one day 
in late spring, mid-summer, and early fall. Most people think they have more sunshine 
than they actually do! — Stephen Westcott-Gratton

13. Clean, sharp tools are 
easier to work with, and they do a better job. — Stephen Westcott-Gratton

14. For optimum plant performance, feed the soil with leaves and the soil will feed the plants. Cover all exposed soil with small or shredded large leaves. Stuff leaves under the skirts of shrubs. Dig leaves into vegetable beds. Leaves are the best nutrition for plants. — Judith Adam

15. If you were to ask me for my top kitchen-gardening tip, I’d say that you’d do far better to grow half the amount, but grow it twice as well. — Alan Titchmarsh

16. Select disease-resistant plants for a healthy garden. Many plants have inbred resistance to diseases, including some roses, phlox, bee balm and tomatoes. Plants that remain healthy all season produce more and better flowers and fruits. — Judith Adam

17. Pay attention. Look closely at your garden to understand nature’s complex web of plants, soil, sun, water, insects and wildlife. The greater this awareness the better you’ll know what to do and, more importantly, what not to do. — Karen York

18. Feed your soil (compost, composted manure, shredded leaves, seaweed)—it’s the foundation of every successful garden.
Stephen Westcott-Gratton

19. Plant trees, shrubs and flowers that encourage wildlife in your garden to keep nature in balance. — Stephen Westcott-Gratton

20. Know the ultimate size of any plant and allow it space so you don’t end up fighting it, moving it or removing it. — Karen York


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