Hi, this is Chad Harris of thegardengates.com, and today we're going to talk about five simple steps to make your life in the garden easier. Hey, if you get a chance, subscribe, like, comment below. Let me know what you think. Give me a question, even ask me to present something of new information to you.

So let's get into it, but remember to stay till the end because number six is the one that I'm not going to tell you about. So let's get started. The number one thing that everybody needs to know is about feeding your garden, but of course you know that.

So why don't you do it? Or are you doing it the right way? Or do you even know? I don't know. I mean, it took me a long time to figure it out. Let me give you the background story. For years, I was a grower, owned garden centers. I've landscaped cities. I've worked on golf courses, and I've done everything from little backyards to huge landscape projects.

And in between, I learned a little bit about flowers. I know, ironically I've been doing something along the way. What I learned the most was-- and it was actually working with people at a garden center-- is that what happens is that when you buy a plant, and you take it home, and you start to water it, there's some simple little care things that you don't do.

You don't realize it. And what happens is the plant begins to deplete and not look as great. Why? You ask why. You can't figure out. You're like, I'm watering it. I've planted it in the sun. I did all the things I was supposed to. I followed the label instructions, the little tag that was in the plant.

You know what you forgot to do? You didn't realize that the plant has been on an IV drip system of fertilizer since the day it was put into the soil.

So from a grower-- from a plug grower to a grower to a garden center-- all of those people have fertilizer injectors into their watering systems. So every single day in small doses those plants have been given nutrients to promote growth, grow roots, even produce flowers.

And what happens is then it gets to the garden center. The garden center has fertilizer injectors. They're doing the same thing, and then it goes on to you. And you haven't done those things. You might have added a little bit of Osmocote here or there, or thrown some granular fertilizer garden special, but what happened was that none of those things worked together at the right time. So here's the simple steps that you can do that will make your plants grow beautifully all season long.

When you plant your plant, make sure to put the granular fertilizer at the bottom of the hole and cover it with a little bit of soil. That's number one.

Number two-- after you plant the plant, go ahead and water it in, and then start watering the plant using a liquid fertilizer-- 20-20-20, Jack's, and even Miracle-Gro. All of those things are going to provide a stable, slow, simple nutrients to the plant until the granular fertilizer takes off, and once that granular fertilizer takes off, it will be perfect.

And you can continue to water with liquid fertilizer at least once a week. So that is my easiest recommendation to grow beautiful flowers every single time-- is actually to use a granular fertilizer with a liquid fertilizer in combination in your garden.

You will have the biggest plants and most abundant flowers that you can imagine. So let's move on to number two.

Number two is all about the mulch. I want you to find the best premium product that you can when you go to add that to your yard, and I do realize that some of you have massive gardens and need tons of mulch.

Maybe you should consider planting some ground covers to eat up some of that space, because when you're adding products like mulch to yards and gardens, you want to make sure that you're adding a product that has benefits in the future-- that when it breaks down and releases nutrients into the soil to make your soil more fertile, to make your plants have a better growing environment, which is going to reduce things like disease, insects, weeds-- that's right, weeds.

The more fertile your ground is and the stronger your plants are-- you're going to have less weeds if you follow some little simple steps. So find the right product, apply it correctly at three inches. One bag should cover about 15 square feet, and make sure that you're using a higher grade product.

Number three-- let's talk about birth control.

That's right, birth control for the garden. There are several pre-emergent herbicides in granular form as well as liquid form that you apply to your garden and lawn that will keep the weed seeds from germinating. What's the trick? Here it is. There's a couple of products. One is pendimethalin and Surflan Herbicide. Both of those products will benefit you. 90% of your weed's will go away. I promise.

Yes, it costs a little bit of money, but your garden will be very thankful. How do you apply it? You're going to follow the label instructions, and you're going to apply those products within the upper two inches of the soil, and then you're going to apply your mulch over the top of that.

If you do that every six to eight months, you will have so few weeds everybody will wonder what you're doing, and it's going to promote healthier plants because you won't have weeds fighting and taking the nutrients from your plants.

So number four- the best thing that I can recommend for you-- clean. Clean your gardens. What I mean by clean-- dead head plants. Clean out old leaves. Prune off failing parts of a plant that is-- the branch might be broken, or maybe it's got a little disease on it. Maybe there's some wilt. Pull those leaves off. Get rid of them. Dead head all the flowers.

Why? Because  your plant is going to continue to send nutrients to those parts of the plant no matter what, and it's going to take it away from the healthier part.

Also, by dead heading you promote the plant to produce new blooms over producing seedlings. So the way you want to think about it-- it's simple. The cleaner your garden, the healthier your plants, the better they'll bloom, the more flowers you'll get out of it.

One of my last tips for you today is going to be the right plant for the right place. Everybody knows this story. You look across the street, and your neighbor's yard is beautiful, and you're like, I want what they have. The problem is is that your house is facing west, and their house is facing east.

So one of you gets morning sun, and one of you gets afternoon sun. Neighbor Sally Susan across the street has got impatiens. If you plant those impatiens in your front yard, they're going to get burned to a crisp. So you're going to need a plant like Vinca. So really what you need to do is you need to go out wherever you're going to be planting and check the sun at noon and check the afternoon sun.

Based on that information, go to your local garden center. Get somebody to work with you. Bring pictures with you. Pick out plants. Slowly incorporate them into those spaces, and make sure you've made the right choices. Remember to water. Add the fertilizer. Use the proper mulch, and you will have a magnificent garden year round.

You're welcome to come and see mine any day of the week if you're in New Orleans. All you have to do is find where the Plum Street snowball stand is in uptown New Orleans, and everybody knows where that is right off the street car tracks. And I promise you on your way you will not miss my yard.

Currently today there's foxgloves that are probably four to five feet tall, and if I stand out there on Sunday, all I do is answer questions. So please, if you're in New Orleans, please visit me because I really do have a beautiful front yard. So here's what I wanted to tell you. Here's my secret sauce. How do I do it?

My last tip is number six. It's what I do what I do on Sundays. Every single Sunday morning I have a ritual. This ritual started because I wanted beautiful orchids. I take the orchids in our house. I put them underneath the kitchen sink.

I ever so carefully give them water and let the water drain out. And while those plants are draining, I place them in the-- like I said, I place them in the kitchen sink and let the water run through. And as they're draining, I actually go and grab our huge ice tray. Go around the house and I dump the ice in all of the plants-- some more than others. Some get a handful. Some get three handfuls.  I do it until there's no ice left.

Go back. I rinse out the ice container. I drop it back in the freezer, and I go and put the orchids exactly back where they were. I make myself an iced coffee, because in New Orleans you drink iced coffee.

I walk out the front door when I go just to take a look to see what's going on in the yard. And I just carefully look around. I pull any weeds that might be there and really just get a survey on a regular Sunday basis when the street is quiet, and the phones aren't ringing, and there's no e-mails to return.

And then I make my plan for the week. I still do work in my own yard, even though we still own a landscaping company. I love to piddle in the garden to add some extra nutrients to the soil. And they'll plant the flowers.

Our landscape architect will be like, oh, I've got this great idea, and the guys come in, and they just do this awesome job, but I love to go tinkering. And I love to move plants. I love to add plants. I love to do all those things.

So if you have any questions, please drop the comment below. I'm really good about responding. Also, please like and share this with your friends. Stick it on Facebook, anything like that. My name is Chad Harris, and I'm with thegardengates.com..

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