Rule #1Despite our recent water restrictions, this rule has and will always be the best; Water deeply, less often. S-l-o-w down watering, making certain your soil is soaked 6-12 inches deep ~ twice a week in hot weather, once a week in cool, dry weather. Trees need deep watering around the root base, not just the trunk and a soaking/drip system is best to avoid run off.
Rule #2Know your irrigation system and schedule. How long are you watering for? How many cycles? How deep does your watering seep into the soil? Make sure your irrigation is working efficiently and that each zone is set properly to avoid over or under watering with no waste. A lot of people would like a simple equation of how much, how long, or how often but like us, gardens have different water needs depending on how hydrated they are.
Rule #3Good soil is usually more important than fertilizer. Although regular fertilizing IS good for many plants, success when you put new things in the ground has a lot more to do with the soil and its preparation. Making sure clay soil will drain properly will keep roots from rotting and allow for expansion. Amend your soil before projects and consider soil maintenance part of your gardening schedule.
Rule #4Fertilize Regularly. Fertilizer is important but it's most important to fertilize with a good organic fertilizer regularly. How often you ask? Follow the directions on the package and know which plants can get by with a good all-purpose food and which need their own food, like acid-loving or annual bloomers then put it on your calendar!
Rule #5Know Your Sun or Shade. Before finding the perfect plant for an area in your garden, you'll need to know how many hours of sun or shade that area gets during summer and winter. Is there a large tree shading the area in summer but it loses its leaves in winter? Is the area in between two homes? Are you planting against a hot wall or a cool wall? How much light does your pool reflect on your landscape? So many variables can affect the amount of sun and while some plants can take a little of both, it's best to know before you plant. Of course there are many other rules to follow but these are a good start. Some other helpful rules; Those who walk around and look at their garden will succeed. Start with small goals and with each success, add more responsibility. Gardening can be relaxing, therapeutic and rewarding but not if you're feeling overwhelmed by your desire for instant, picture perfect gratification. As our favorite gardener, Dalia, says; To be a good gardener, you have to kill a few plants. Meaning that even the best gardeners have "issues" and work through them or move on to what they find success with.
Reasons vary to have a California Friendly garden. Each gardener does so for a different reason. A truly sustainable landscape minimizes negative impacts and maximizes positive ones. It thrives on rainwater and it keeps plant clippings and greenwaste on site. It requires a minimum amount of outside products and resources to sustain it.