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5 Easy Tips for a More Successful Garden

To be more successful in your garden it does take some extra time and muscle, but every bit of blood, sweat and tears pays off when your plants thrive. The work does your body good and the beauty rewards your soul.

by Scott Beuerlein, horticulturist at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

Here are 5 easy tips from professional horticulturist Scott Beuerlein at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden that you can employ for a more successful garden.

1 Successful Gardens Start at Ground Level

Build your garden beds as if that is how you’ll be forever judged. Soil prep: Learn it! Nothing else matters as much as good soil for surviving and thriving gardens. Ask your extension agent how to do a soil test. Have them help you interpret the results. Then, do what they say.

successful garden

Visit gardens regularly and over time you'll develop your own vision of what you like and don't like.

2 Visit Gardens

There’s no better way to develop your own vision than by visiting other gardens. In them, over time, you’ll discover what you like, what you don’t and inspiration to guide you to your potential.

successful garden

Check out Norm Deno's seed germination theory and practice online for a great, free seed-starting resource.

3 Grow Plants from Seeds in Containers

Seriously, this is your portal to proficiency. It will acquaint you with everything from water, soil, fertility, light, plant biology and how all of that comes together to create a green and better garden. Google “Norm Deno seed germination theory and practice.” What a great free resource.You’ll find that literally everything you learn growing plants indoors, and then in containers outdoors, directly applies in the garden. Zero to fifty-five right here, folks. And you’ll have a cheap and abundant supply of plants for yourself and others.

successful garden

Don't be afraid to edit; sometimes you're the reaper! Sometimes plants just don't survive...but you do, so wise up and move on.

4 Don’t Fear the Reaper

And when that “hardy” camellia you impulsively bought for your USDA Zone 6 garden gives up the ghost, sure, be sad. But remember, you still get to live. Make note and carry on. And don’t be afraid to edit. Sometimes you are the reaper. When something isn’t working, fix it. Often, that means the removal of a perfectly healthy plant you paid good money for, or one that dear Aunt Agnes bequeathed to you. No matter. Ugly is ugly, and you have a compost bin.

5 Be Observant

Walk your garden regularly, and note changes—for better and for worse. Did your oak defoliate earlier than normal? Is the color of your holly not quite right? No chance to learn from something if you never see it happen.

Click here for more tips from Scott Beuerlein that will help you grow a more successful garden. This article is an excerpt from a longer version that ran in the September/October 2017 issue of Horticulture.