Green Living

Smart gardening: water and weed wisely


(ARA) - Part of the joy in planting beautiful flower beds and produce gardens each summer is in daydreaming about the outcome. Summer garden daydreams involve the anticipation of the blooming daisies, the splash of color added by waves of petunias, biting into juicy tomatoes and cooking up crisp green peppers or yellow squash.

Gardening dreams and plans, however, don't generally include hours of watering, wilted plants or those pesky weeds. These unwanted guests aren't just unattractive, but can also rob flowers and vegetables of water, nutrients and sunlight, therefore restricting the growth of prized plants.Smart gardening: water and weed wisely

Watering and controlling weeds in your containers and gardens need not be time-consuming or difficult. Practicing smart weed control and wise watering measures should be a simple part of garden care and can be easily incorporated into routines.

- Soil to build on - Amend before planting and improve growth and moisture control by mixing in a layer of rich compost from Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Garden Soil. This increases the water holding ability and water absorption of your soil. For container gardening, use Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix to help hold water longer.  Also, using a large pot helps keep plants from becoming root-bound quickly and thirsting for water. The more room plants have to grow, the less watering needed.

- Mulch is a must - A two or three inch layer of mulch on the garden will break down over time and add to the nutritional make-up of soil. Layering a hardwood mulch in flowerbeds or container gardens will accomplish three goals: helping to prevent weeds from getting established; giving beds and containers a finished look and holding moisture in the soil. Additionally, the Water Smart technology used in this product has a water channeling property. This prevents over-watering in flower and produce beds by channeling water directly to the roots, reducing the amount of water needed by up to 30 percent compared to ordinary mulches.

- Water wisely - Gardens and containers do require watering to thrive when rainfall is insufficient or infrequent, but a few watering tips can conserve time, water and help make the most of the rainfall that Mother Nature does provide. To maximize the effectiveness of watering, take care to water deeply by wetting soil thoroughly. Use a moisture meter to ensure that roots have received enough moisture. Make watering a regular routine, aiming at the base of the plant. To water effectively, do it:

- After planting
- Before leaves wilt
- In the morning

- Feed and protect - With help from Miracle-Gro, your plants can grow bigger and more beautiful, without weeds to compete for space, nutrients and water. Combine feeding with weed prevention by using Miracle-Gro Shake 'n Feed All Purpose Plant Food Plus Weed Preventer. One application feeds plants and prevents weeds from appearing for up to three months. It's an easy way to keep those pesky weeds from popping up.

- Spot treatment - Don't get carried away with weeds - it is not easy to catch every weed before it pops up. For only a handful of weeds, simply use a spot treatment or dig the culprit out. Roundup Weed & Grass Killer Sure Shot Foam is ideal for tough-to-reach weeds found in flower beds and vegetable gardens. It's also great to use as an edger along driveways, walkways or fences or to spot treat weeds in patios, gravel or mulch, around trees and shrubs and other hard-to-reach areas.

Few gardeners enjoy pulling weeds or constant watering, so taking the measures to prevent weeds and make the most of watering early in the summer growing season is a great way to avoid backbreaking work later on. Soon your dreams will become reality as you enjoy fresh cut flowers on your kitchen table and corn on the cob dripping with butter on your dinner plate.

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