You know those plant tags that come stuck in the soil of potted plants? They’re there for a reason. They tell you really neat things like how often your plant wishes to be fertilized, whether it likes sunny locations or prefers shade, and whether it likes acidic soil or something more neutral.
You can even find out things like that on a seed packet. It is amazing all the information that comes packed in such a small space.
I know people pretty much want to do what they want to do. We want to stay up late, so we invent light bulbs and caffeine and then complain of insomnia. We have a spot in the yard that needs a bit of color so we plant a rose bush, never mind the giant oak tree shading out even the most tolerant of grasses. Then we spend the life of the plant researching pests and disease and figure we just aren’t cut out for roses when it finally succumbs.
Now, when you begin to plant, you have a choice: Follow the instructions and have a pretty good chance at a healthy plant, or stick it wherever you want and guarantee seasons of fighting pest and disease because the plant isn’t getting what it needs from the day you put it in the ground.
The people who owned our last house before us were obviously gardeners. The property was full of irises, peonies, tiger lillies, roses, tulips and many other lovely plants. Some of them I still can’t identify, but they were beautiful.
Still, they stuck the tiger lillies under the water spout where they only got a few hours of sun each day. They limped along, with crinkled foliage, and crinkled flowers that bloomed weeks after our neighbor’s show was over. I moved them over to my butterfly garden to provide a bit of a windbreak and they did better there the year they were transplanted than they ever had before.
This property, on the other hand, was left vacant for at least two years. Weeds had taken over all the flower beds, and waist high grasses hid the flower beds from view. Even with years of neglect, an abundance of flowers have fought their way through the tangled mess of weeds to give us quite a show and the encouragement to help them a little in their struggle.
Because they started out healthy and were given every chance to succeed, they’re coping with a little hardship. Whether that is weeds, a dry spell or an insect attack doesn’t matter. A healthy plant has its own natural defenses.
Seriously. After selecting the right cultivars for your area, planting it according to the directions is the most important factor in a healthy plant and a healthy plant is the key to not needing an abundance of chemicals to help the plant along.
For more on beginning organic gardening, well, it’s a whole series! Just click the link or the button at the beginning of the entry!