This month, we had the opportunity through BzzAgent to test out the Pennington Smart Feed Sprayer System for free–a new way to apply fertilizer to our lawn and landscaping. Until now, we’ve just been using a hand-held spreader with granulated name-brand fertilizer twice over the spring and early summer. It was a tedious, imprecise process, and since it was my job, I would always end up with granules of fertilizer in my shoes. So annoying!
Now that we’re using the Pennington Smart Feed system, applying fertilizer fits into our routine of watering the lawn (since we overseed, we water every other day for a few weeks after we lay the seed to help it grow). Every 4-6 weeks, we just hook up the Pennington system to the hose, drop a fertilizer tablet into the tube, and spray the lawn. One tablet is perfect for our size lawn (tiny!), and it takes seriously five minutes to fertilize the whole lawn.
Now, that all said, I wanted to share our family’s tips for growing a great garden with you.
1. Test & supplement your soil. You can look up your local Ag Extension, and they’ll be able to help you test your soil to see what it’s looking like in terms of nutrient levels. This will tell you what to supplement with. We usually dig in a combination of manure and soil conditioner throughout our garden beds. This makes sure the soil is capable of sustaining our landscaping and garden plants, and also helps feed the plants throughout the summer growing season.
2. Mulch like it’s your business! Here in North Carolina, the summer sun is hot and ever-present. We take extra precautions with our plants so that the soil has as much protection from direct sun as possible. Mulch is a great help on two fronts–protecting plants’ delicate root structures and the soil from the harsh summer sun, as well as serving as a natural weed inhibitor. To give extra protection on both of these fronts, lay down a couple of layers of newsprint (sunday paper anyone?) on top of the soil, then cover with a thick layer of mulch.
3. Don’t plant your garden too early or too late.
4. Tomatoes need as much water as you can possibly give them. If you give them morning sun and tons of water, you’ll be rewarded with awesome tomatoes all summer. We’ve found the easiest to grow are sungolds–they produce from May through late October, and last summer, Eric and I barely got to eat any of them because Ethan would eat them as soon as they were remotely yellow!
5. Have a comprehensive plan before the gardening season starts. We waited to put a plan in place this year, and had to scramble to figure out our garden plans before it was too late to get anything started.
What are your tricks and tips to a fab garden?