Most people say gardening is a great way of relaxing the mind and relieving stress. But if you’re considering gardening and have no experience, it can easily have the opposite result. Many people take on gardening and feel worse than when they began because they’re unable to care for their garden. But choosing easy to grow plants can make the learning process much easier. So, here are some ways to discover the joys of growing gorgeous succulents.
The dreary winter months can seem to drag on, especially for gardeners. But the gray skies and rain of spring don’t have to keep you from working on your yard and garden. No matter if you start early or late, here are eight great ways to get out there and get your yard and garden ready for the upcoming warm and sunny weather.
Ready Tools and Structures
Make a Plan
Prune and Transplant
Clean up Debris
Dig New Beds and Plots
Test and Amend the Soil
Gardening from seeds can be immensely rewarding. The variety of seeds is immense and they are inexpensive, too. And seeing a sprout emerge from a tiny seed is exciting for most gardeners. So, here are three things to keep in mind if you plan to try gardening from seeds.
Gardening from Seeds is Not as Hard as You May Think
You Might Just Feed Yourself
Expect to Get Hooked
The color of the blooms of the mophead-type hydrangea with the scientific name hydrangea macrophylla is somewhere between blue and violet with a flash of silver. Blue hydrangeas almost defy description. But when you see them, you know there is nothing like those blue flowers. So how do you make this kind of hydrangea change from pink to blue? The key is to change the acidity or pH level in the soil. The more alkaline your soil is the pinker the flowers. Conversely, a higher acidity level yields bluer blooms.
Make Your Hydrangeas That Beautiful BlueBut before you move on to testing and adjusting soil acidity to make your hydrangeas blue, make sure that you’ve taken these measures to encourage them to thrive:
- Provide protection from the winter cold. Move your hydrangea bush to a sheltered location near the house or behind a windbreak of trees. If you can’t move the bush, place a cage around it and cover it with shredded leaves.
- Prune correctly. Avoid pruning your hydrangea when the buds are forming in the spring. Fall or late winter are better times to prune when its stalks are dry and have finished blooming.
- Fertilize at the right time. Apply an organic fertilizer like Rose-Tone as soon as the leaves of the hydrangea start to come out. And then apply it again when you see buds on the plant. If the bush blooms a second time, it’s a good time to follow with another application of fertilizer.
- Water properly. Too much water produces leaves and no flowers. So, wait until the leaves look a little dry after the sun is off the bush. If the plant doesn’t rebound, it needs water. Try running a hose at the base to avoid encouraging fungus if the leaves get wet.
How to Test the pH of Your SoilHere is a simple way to check if your soil is acidic enough to grow blue blooms on your hydrangeas:
- Take a handful of the soil from near the plant’s roots and place it in a container.
- Pour distilled white vinegar over the soil.
- If the white vinegar solution fizzes, the pH level is high, and the soil is alkaline. You will definitely need to amend the soil. If it doesn’t fizz, the soil is neutral or acidic, and you may not need to amend it as much.
How to Amend the SoilAlthough you could use coffee grounds and ground-up citrus peels to adjust your soil’s acidity, there is a lot of guesswork involved in this method. A more straightforward way to do this is to use aluminum sulfate, which you can purchase at your local garden center. The chemical composition of aluminum is responsible for creating those coveted blue hues. To use aluminum sulfate for encouraging your H. macrophylla to turn blue, follow these steps:
- Dissolve one tablespoon of aluminum sulfate in a gallon of water.
- Drench the plant’s root zone with the solution in early to mid-spring, but don’t overdo it. You may need to adjust the application depending on when the buds form in your growing zone.
- Mulch your hydrangea with pine needles, pine bark and/or leaf litter.
- Another thing to keep in mind is to avoid applying fertilizers that contain phosphorus. This element binds with aluminum and reduces the effectiveness of the solution you’ve just applied.