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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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

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Top Shade Perennials

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Landscape Ideas

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Save Water in Your Garden

Look for opportunties to save water -- and money -- in your landscape. Here are some great ways to start.

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    Everything in this slideshow

    • Water Wisely

      Walking across a path or your driveway with the water running is a definite water waster. Solve this by adding a shut-off device at the business end of the hose, or use a nozzle that allows you to turn the water off as needed.

    • Use a Soaker Hose

      Sprinklers lose water to evaporation -- so keep the air from gobbling up your precious moisture by using a soaker hose, which slowly drips water into the soil. Cover it with mulch and you waste next to nothing.

    • Collect the Free Stuff

      One of the most surprising things about a rain barrel is how quickly it fills, even in the lightest of rains. And the water you collect is free of city-water chemicals. Connect the rain barrel to your downspout or use a pretty rain chain to guide the water.


      Note: Rain barrels are illegal in some areas. Check your local regulations before installing.

    • Use Mulch

      Weeds growing in your garden aren't just an eyesore; they also suck up valuable soil moisture from your plants. One of the best, chemical-free weed controls is a layer of mulch. It's air- and water-permeable and easy to plant into. Plus, organic mulches (such as shredded bark) decompose over time and improve your soil.

    • Set a Timer

      A faucet-mounted timer remembers to shut off your sprinkler so you don't have to.

      Here's a hint: To prevent water runoff, set your timer to turn off your sprinkler, allow the water to seep in the soil, then start watering again.

    • Quick-Release It

      Modify your hose with a quick-release connector to waste no water when changing attachments (and save you time so you won't have to run and turn off the water). One pull and you can switch to the best nozzle for the job.

    • Water Only When Necessary

      If your sprinklers are on a timer, have you checked the water output? Place a rain gauge where it can collect water. Then adjust the timer to give your plants just what they need.

      Here's a hint: Most plants need about an inch of water a week during the growing season.

    • Grow Drought-Tolerant Plants

      Once established, drought-tolerant plants can handle extended periods without water. That's not to say they don't need water, just less than other garden plants. When you do water them, give them a deep drink and they'll be ready to handle the next round of drought.

    • Repair Hose Leaks

      Changing out weather-hardened O-rings is a simple fix for leaky hose ends. And don't lose precious water to a hole in the middle of the hose; fix the hole or invest in a new hose.

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      Ration Your Ration

      If your city mandates water rationing, ration across your landscape. Supplement your hose ration with water you've collected in rain barrels. Water your high-value plants first, followed by moderate-value plants.

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      Next Slideshow Xeriscaping

      Xeriscaping

      In many parts of the country, water resources are becoming scarcer. That's why it's a good idea to landscape your home using waterwise techniques. Called xeriscaping, this process will help you have a less thirsty backyard. Here's how to do it.
      Begin Slideshow »

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