Los Fresnos News

Soil, sun, water are essential tools in the gardening game

Hanging baskets will need to be watered every two to three days. Photo: Ann Johnston / LFN


Every occupation, sport or hobby has its own vocabulary and tools. There are always a few tools that are essential while others are very specialized. Then there are a large number that are just nice to have and make the job easier. These might not usually be considered tools, but in gardening you must be particularly aware of your soil, sun, and water.

Soil Hints: Depending upon your location in our Valley, you might be blessed with good, sandy loam soil. Or have clay instead.

The Cameron County Agriculture Extension Service in San Benito can help you get your soil tested and give advice on amendments if necessary.

If buying bagged soil, be aware of its intended use. The bags should indicate if they are mixed for use in pots/containers, beds, top soil, etc.

Sun Hints: Most plants, particularly flowering and thus vegetable plants, need six to eight hours of sunlight. Don’t skimp on sunlight getting to your plants.

Most garden centers or online gardening sites usually carry a device to measure the sunlight hours of areas in your yard. If you don’t want to purchase such an item, then observe and keep good notes of these places.

Water Hints: Always be sure your faucet, hose, etc. are easy to reach and close by where you will use it. If you must haul heavy hoses around or creep through buggy bushes to reach the faucet, you probably won’t water as regularly as you should.

One trick to avoid these situations is to place a hose holder with its own faucet on the outside edge of the flowerbed. A short water hose connects the original faucet to this closer faucet to control water flow.

Be sure to read any details on the plant tags that give information on soil dampness. Few plants enjoy having their feet wet all the time.

Potted or container plants, like hanging baskets, need water often as in everyday or two even. If you stick your finger in the soil up to your first knuckle and the dirt is dry, it’s time to water.

For indoor plants, choose one day a week to water and you have a better chance to water correctly.

Next week you will learn more hints, suggestions, and things to look for as you come through the Garden Gate.

Be sure to read the plant care information provided on your new plants. Photo: Ann Johnston / LFN