Tips for Planning, Planting, & Maintaining a Successful Garden Bed
As we hunker down in our homes this spring during this Covid-19 pandemic, many of us are looking to our gardens for solace. We’ve compiled some thoughts on how to use our products in your garden beds this spring to help enhance soils and growth healthier plants. We’ve also referenced past blogs that may go into more depth about certain topics. While this post is a month or two too late for many of our southern readers (you may skip ahead a section), those of us in northern states are just getting out there! Remember you don’t have to be good at gardening for gardening to be good for you. So, get on out there, enjoy the sun on your back, the soil in your hands, and the satisfaction of your hard work.
Garden Bed Preparation and Planning
Prepare the existing soil with ArborChar Root, Flower & Fruit 3-6-4 (RFF) to amend the soil, increase porosity, enhance structure, feed microorganisms, promote rooting and plant establishment.
Add RFF now to garden soils before planting to give the microorganisms time to breakdown the components that will turn into essential nutrients for plant growth. RFF has a higher percentage of phosphorus and potassium than nitrogen, which the plant needs now to establish roots.
Including compost at this stage will decrease the time it take for the nutrients to be plant available as well as further support soil structure and water holding capacity. Read Better Soils from a Better BioChar to learn more!
Use 3 cups/approximately 1 lb. to cover 200 sq. ft. Create your own soil blend by adding ¼ – ½ cup to a 40lb bag of soil, then till into garden or use as backfill. For instructions on approximate measurements visit Successful Planting Tips with NutriRoot and ArborChar.
Garden Bed Planting
When it’s time to plant you could use a small amount of RFF in each planting hole. Mix into the hole with existing soil. If the soil is prone to drying out quickly or you’re planting in pots, consider watering with NutriRoot which has a component (Hydretain) that will keep water from evaporating from the soil. This will help the plants continue to grow and uptake nutrients from the soil. It also contains kelp, micro & macronutrients, and humic acid – all good things for the soil and plant growth.
Measure 1 – 4 tsp of ArborChar per 1-5 gallon container. Use higher rates for clay and sandy soils and one time applications. Use lower rates for routine maintenance and potted plants.
The basic dilution is 1.25-1.5 fl. oz. NutriRoot in 1 gallon of water. Use higher rates for newly transplanted trees or trees with root loss. Use lower rates for routine maintenance and to alleviate drought stress. It can be used in conjunction with standard fertilization programs and may increase their efficacy. Applying with amendments like biochar and compost can help increase the soil’s water holding capacity.
Garden Bed Maintenance
2-4 weeks after planting consider another application of ArborChar RFF or ArborChar All Purpose 5-6-4 (AP). AP has a slightly higher percentage of nitrogen which helps plants grow strong stems and greener leaves. This is preferred when your plants have established their roots and you want to encourage more top growth. At this early point in the season, use AP especially on plants that either you don’t want to flower like lettuces and heavy feeders like tomatoes.
In another 2-4 weeks apply another round of RFF to plants that you want to encourage flowering and fruiting. RFF also contains 10% Calcium, which is know to help prevent blossom end rot, commonly found with tomatoes and peppers. AP contains 6% calcium and can be rotated or used in replace of RFF if needed. To learn more read our blog on blossom end rot.
Mix in a pinch of ArborChar into the top inch of soil around plants. Pull back mulch then scratch a small amount around the base of the plant. If you sit the product around the top layer of soil, it will take longer for the nutrients to be available.
Continue to water with NutriRoot monthly to help with water loss. The nutrients in NutriRoot are more readily available than ArborChar, so this could also be helpful to supplement between uses. Mix 1.5 fl oz per gallon of NutriRoot. Be sure to water in, so the NutriRoot is in the root zone.
Hydretain can also be used early in the growing season to help with water management. This is the component used in NutriRoot that will help plants utilize normally unavailable water in the soil. Hydretain comes in a liquid and granular. The granular version is on an organic chicken compost, so you’ll eventually see additional greening and plant growth as the compost breaks down. Read our How to Guide for Spring Planting with Hydretain.
Garden Bed Insect & Disease Control
AzaSol is a neem based insect control and works by effecting the life cycle of insects piercing, sucking, or chewing on the plant. They will stop feeding, growing, and eggs won’t be viable. Because AzaSol doesn’t work immediately, it’s best used preventably every 7-14 days. Treat before pests typically start feeding on your plants. Read Tips to Control Thrips in Your Garden.
If you’re too late, spray with Eco-1 Garden Spray or Eco-1 Fruit & Vegetable spray which will smother and quickly kill soft bodied insects like aphids, mites, and whiteflies.
Eco-1 is also a disease control solution and works great on powdery mildew. It’s most effective to treat before you see the white powdery spots, but Eco-1 can help clear up an infection if sprayed early and often. Use when conditions favor spore development like in hot and humid weather.
To get more tips on Garden Maintenance read these blogs:
Happy Spring Gardening!