Do you enviously look at your neighbors' perfect garden beds and wish that your own looked as nice? Here's the good news: they can! Maintaining great garden beds does not require a ton of work, but it does require consistency. Here are five tips for nicer garden beds.
1. Choose the right mulch.
Not all mulch is created equal. You can find mulch that is mostly ground-up wood fibers, and other mulch that consists of larger chunks of wood. To keep your garden beds looking nice, you want to opt for the latter. Wood mulch with larger chunks will break down more slowly, so your garden stays looking nice for longer. Apply about 3 inches of mulch in the spring, and top off your beds with an extra inch or two of mulch once fall arrives.
2. Use a weed fighter.
Starting in the spring, spray your garden bed with a good, all-purpose weed fighter every week or two. Spray each and every weed you see. Over time, this will establish a barrier of weed killer and will help stop new weeds from popping up. This is a lot easier than continually having to pull weeds. Your garden will look weed-free!
3. Check before watering.
There is such a thing as over-watering your garden. You may drown the roots of some of your plants, causing them to languish. Instead of watering your garden on a set schedule, try testing the soil every day and watering it only when needed. If the soil holds together in your fist, it is moist enough and you do not need to water yet. If the soil falls between your fingers, you need to water.
4. Re-edge Your Borders
When your garden's edges start getting grown over with grass and weeds, the whole garden looks disheveled. To prevent this problem, re-edge your garden every spring -- even before it looks as though it needs it. If you do not have an edging tool, you can use a basic garden spade. Just make shallow cuts to keep the garden edge looking smooth.
5. Fertilize Occassionally
Over-fertilizing will just result in plants with long stems and few flowers. But you do need to fertilize sometimes to get a nice, lush garden. Once in the spring and once later in the summer is ideal. Look for a fertilizer made specifically for garden beds -- one that is high in nitrogen is best.
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