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Plants
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Planting a Garden



Planting a Garden
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.55

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    plant-friendly, nitrogen, eggplant, houseplants, knowing, loam, peat, which, organic, flowerpot, improve, terrarium, whatever, however, early, layer


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Planting a Garden
By Sharon Fabian
  

1     Which would you like - flowers or vegetables? Would you prefer daisies or roses, tiny violets or giant sunflowers? Maybe you would like corn on the cob, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, or an eggplant. Or maybe you prefer green leafy houseplants, a lily in a flowerpot, tiny plants in a terrarium, wildflowers that you can dry to save, or a butterfly garden.
 
2     Gardening gives you a lot of interesting choices, but whatever you hope to grow, knowing some gardening basics will give you a much better chance of success.
 
3     First you will need to choose a good location for your garden. A sunny location usually works best, since all plants need some sunlight, and most plants need lots of it to thrive. However there are some plants that need only indirect sunlight, and these plants will do best in shady spots.
 
4     Check for good soil too. The best kind of plant soil is called loam; it is loose soil that crumbles easily. Water drains through it well, and it has lots of nutrients to feed your plants. Soil that sticks together might have too much clay in it. Very loose, dry soil might have too much sand. You can improve the soil in your garden by adding organic materials such as compost, chopped leaves, or peat moss. The right amount of sunlight and good loamy soil will make your garden plant-friendly.
 
5     Plants need to be cared for, so be sure to check your garden often. Whether you are trying to grow beautiful flowers or tasty vegetables, they need regular care to make them grow strong and healthy. Here are some tips.
 
6     CLIMATE - Check a map of planting zones to choose plants that are right for your area.
 
7     MULCH - After you have planted your plants, add a layer of mulch on top of the soil. Mulch keeps the soil damp, keeps out pests, and adds more nutrients to the soil.
 
8     WATER - Water your plants early in the day. On the average, plants need about 1 inch of water each week.
 
9     FERTILIZER - If you are planting a big garden, use about 1 1/2 pounds per 100 square feet. (That's about a coffee can full.) If you are just planting a few plants, get a little container of plant food and follow the directions on the label. Plant fertilizer contains the three chemicals that are a big part of a plant's nutritional needs -- nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

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