10 Ways to Conquer Your Fear of Gardening

You might not believe it, but you were born with a green thumb. It may have gone untended for a while, but it's there waiting for you to nudge it awake. Put away your theory of being a plant killer, that anything dies under your care. Forget those nagging thoughts of where your garden will live or when you'll find the time, it's there somewhere. It doesn't have to cost a fortune and you'll get more than you give. So, here are 10 tips for conquering your fear of gardening:

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Gardening Tips for Renters

Want to bring more green to your house or apartment? Using a few easy, inexpensive techniques, <a href="http://www.thehorticult.com/">The Horticult</a> shows how you can garden like you own the place -- without risking your security deposit. You don't have to own your home to create a garden that reflects your personal style. Grow your favorite plants and create an inspired landscape -- or patio, interior, or balcony -- using these fun, low-commitment methods. (Although you might want to check with your landlord about the larger projects!) And if you move, you can take it all with you. These 10 tips for renters will give your garden a new lease on life.

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Summer Checklist

Summer is a gardener¿s busiest season. If you¿re short on time or not sure what to do, follow this easy summer gardening checklist to keep your lawn and garden in great shape all season long.

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Drought-Tolerant Grasses

Drought! The word itself strikes fear into the hearts of gardeners everywhere. Scarce water resources, especially in hard hit areas such as California and Texas, are making it almost impossible to maintain traditional style lawns. That's why many people are replacing their lawns with groundcovers and native plants. But for those who want a lush green lawn, here are some less-thirsty options.

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How to Improve Garden Soil

Many homeowners inherit bad garden soil ¿ but you don¿t have to live with it! Learn how to get the best garden soil possible through amendments, composting, and more.

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Top Shade Perennials

Shade plants are perfect for those tough spots in your yard. Learn about the best shade-loving perennials, including flowering shade perennials, partial shade perennials, and full-shade perennials.

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Landscape Ideas

Landscape ideas provide inspiration, and studies show that upgrading your landscape will add value to your home. Here are some great landscape ideas to improve your home's outward appeal.

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September Tips: Southern California

September marks the beginning of the fall planting season -- a busy time of year for lucky warm-climate gardeners.

Pre-chill hyacinth bulbs in the refrigerator to simulate winter.
  • For best selection, buy bulbs as soon as they appear at the garden center. Most spring-blooming bulbs, such as tulips, hyacinths, and crocuses, will need to be pre-chilled in the fridge for 6-8 weeks to "fake" winter before planting outdoors.
  • Plant beds with cool-season flowers, such as pansies, calendula, candytuft, foxgloves, snapdragons, stock, and sweet alyssum.
  • Also plant cool-season veggies, such as broccoli, carrots, cauliflowers, lettuces and greens, potatoes, radishes, and peas.

Dividing and Planting Perennials -- Divide or plant perennials now that bloom in spring or early and mid-summer.

Dividing Perennials

Planting Perennials

  • Keep up with watering chores. Weather stays warm this month, so keep up with watering all plants in the ground deeply but infrequently. Established natives will need water only once a month or so. If you know Santa Ana winds are coming, if you can, water thoroughly before they arrive.
  • Dusty leaves are a haven for mites and other sucking insects. Hose down your plants every so often to remove dust and dirt.

Feeding Roses -- Fertilize roses to encourage fall bloom.

Feeding Roses

  • This month continue to fertilize warm-season lawns, such as Bermudagrass, but halt fertilizing of cool-season lawns, such as bluegrass.
  • Fertilize any acid-loving plants and any that may be showing an iron deficiency; for exmaple, young leaves appear yellow-green with dark green leaves. Acid-loving plants include azaleas, gardenias, blueberries, and camellias.

Fertilizing Plants -- Continue to fertilize containers containing annuals and perennials.

Fertilizing Plants

  • Continue to keep up with watering chores. Soak plants in containers well. If you can't keep up or they're wilting anyway, move them to a shadier spot. Also give your compost heap an occasional dousing to promote necessary decomposition; and consider shading the heap to keep it moister longer.
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