140 Middletown – Lincroft Road, Lincroft, New Jersey 07738   

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Why I Garden: To Have Something to Nurture and Care For

Some researchers believe that the urge to nurture plants is instinctive because while much of their survival depends on us, ours also depends on them. Most gardeners who have spent years tending to plants think that there is more to it than that. There is an emotional attachment that seems unmistakably real to them. It could be because it is hard not to feel something for a living being that you have spent so many minutes of the day caring for, especially since so many plants have drastically different requirements that make caring for them a challenge. To nurture a plant to ensure its success after it has been potted or put into the ground, the following three basic aspects of gardening must be considered:

Water

It takes a lot of finesse to get the watering schedule for a plant just right. The temperature of the place where it sets in the sun can affect how quickly it dries out too. And so does the season. Whether or not the area has good drainage also matters. Some gardeners even go so far as to get professional advice about the exact amount of water to add. In the end, they have to be persistent in trying out different things until they find what works best for them. Once this aspect of nurturing a plant is finally figured out though, it will thrive beyond belief.

Fertilizer

Each type of plant has its own unique nutritional requirements. Some need extra calcium and nitrogen. Others might be more adjusted to a poorer quality of soil, such as various types of cacti. The pH balance of the soil also has to be adjusted. And they all have different times of the year when they need to be fertilized, which depends greatly on what their growth cycle is. The most common recommendation given to gardeners is to first offer a diluted amount of fertilizer as soon as a seedling has two sets of leaves. After that, they can be fed on a schedule. Growth can't be encouraged during periods of rest. And the fertilizer can't be applied directly to the leaves because it could burn them. Also, too much fertilizer given to a plant can make it grow too fast, so it becomes weak.

Sunlight

The last aspect of nurturing a plant involves trying to give it the perfect amount of light each day. This is no easy task considering that each gardener's house is different, and not everyone has the liberty of being able to put a plant wherever they want to. So compromises have to be made. Perhaps, a window with light too intense might be dimmed down some with a sheer curtain hung in front of it. Or a plant that needs more light could be moved outdoors for the remainder of the summer season.

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