Gardening Problems? 5 Tips to Keep Your Plants Happy

Summer is the season of the harvest. These beautiful months are when we Michiganders enjoy stunning weather, boat rides on our (many) lakes, and fresh local produce. Getting your hands on local produce doesn’t have to mean a trip to the farmers market – you can grow many fruits and vegetables in your own backyard.

Gardening does come with its own pros and cons. With an at-home garden, you have the added benefit of watching your plants grow and feeling the sense of accomplishment when you harvest. Also, you can control the amount of pesticides that your plants come in contact with, meaning you have the ability to truly have an all-organic harvest.

The cons of gardening however, are that you might have some friendly critters stopping by. Michigan is known for having an abundance of deer, rabbits, possums, and other wildlife that love to nibble the carrots and lettuce growing in our backyards.

If you’re struggling to keep your garden lush and fruitful, here are five gardening tips to keep your plants growing, and ensure that you have tasty crops to harvest:

  1. To keep pests away, plant bars of Irish Spring brand soap two inches away from the edges of your garden (crazy, I know, but it works!). For some reason, animals hate the smell of Irish Spring.
  2. Try not to water your plants in full sun. It’s best to water them either early in the morning or late at night. Watering them during the day wilts the leaves and scorches them, not to mention, you’re wasting water due to evaporation.
  3. Fill plant pots one-third full of gravel before you put soil in. This helps water drain out more efficiently, and makes your pots lighter.
  4. Always weed by hand or hoe, never use a till. Using a till stops the flourishing of all the wonderful bacteria and worm communities that your plants love. Instead of breaking up those colonies, keep them in tact by weeding by hand.
  5. Leave carrots and parsnips in the ground as long as possible. These veggies are actually better to eat after first frost. The cold creates more sugars within the vegetables, thus making them sweeter to eat.

I hope that these tips will keep your gardens growing more than ever, and that when it’s time to harvest, you’ll have the best around!

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Photo credit: Lee Ruk

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