So your gardening efforts were a flop this year? Feeling like you have the dreaded “black thumb.” Don’t be discouraged! With some patience and perseverance, you can nurture your own “green thumb.”
First, to have a green thumb, you must understand what the term means. “To me, a green thumb means you think like a plant,” said Nursery and Garden Center Manager Kristen Hansen. “Because they are living, breathing creatures, they require many of the same things we do to grow happy and healthy.”
Here, Kristen outlines the four basics of plant health that you can master on your way to growing your green thumb for a happy and healthy garden:
Soil type plays a large role in plant growth. Do a soil analysis to determine if your soil is black, loamy soil or heavy clay. Does the soil drain well, or do you have standing water? Learn more about conducing a soil analysis here. Use this information when selecting plants and choosing where to plant them.
Just like people, plants need certain nutrients to grow properly. Know which food works best for your plants. Often times, the plant label will have information about what is best for your plant.
Morning light can be considered part sun, while afternoon light is more intense and should be considered full sun. For optimum growth and health, follow the plant preferences, which can be found on the plant label. As an example, if a plant prefers shade but is in the sun, you risk burned leaves, stunted growth, and eventually, dead plants.
Be sure to water, but not too much. Often times, new gardeners think that their plants are suffering due to lack of water, when in fact, it’s likely due to overwatering. Roots need oxygen to grow. With too much water, the roots will not receive enough oxygen and can suffocate and die of “root rot.”
Remember, every gardener was a newbie once. Expect that you’ll have plants die each year, learn from that, and keep tweaking your garden plan. Whether you currently have a black thumb or whether you’re trying to make your green thumb even greener, relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor!