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Even the Marthas of the world could use a little help when it comes to the delightful—but laborious—task of gardening. Read on for the 30 most essential tricks in our arsenal. 

RELATED: The Biggest Garden Trends of 2018

watering plants in garden

1. Give your garden one long weekly soak (about an inch of water) 
Short, frequent waterings won't penetrate to the roots.

2. And avoid watering during the hottest part of the day
Unless you want to burn your plants. (Shoot for morning or dusk instead.) 

3. If transporting plants, do so after a rainfall
Damp soil will keep the roots from cracking.

windbreak for Home garden

4. "Insulate" your home with shrubs and bushes 
Planting strategically along your facade can create a natural wind barrier...and save you money on heating costs. 

5. Be careful not to overmow your grass
Never cut shorter than two inches: It'll weaken the grass and make your lawn susceptible to weeds. 

6. Assess how much sunlight your blooms will get before you plant them
Most plants need six hours of sun to thrive.

purple lilac bushes

7. Prune spring trees (like lilac and magnolia) right after they finish blooming
If you wait too long, you’ll dissuade next year’s buds.

8. Keep herbs separate from other plantings
Mint, in particular, is highly invasive. 

9. Strip lower leaves on vegetable plants regularly
This will prevent fungal diseases from encroaching. 

pink peonies grey

10. Stake your tall perennials (like peonies and hollyhocks) early
It’s pretty hard to do so once they’ve taken off.

11. And a reminder on perennials: They need three years to mature 
Practice patience and you’ll reap the rewards, people.

12. Deadhead your flowering plants vigilantly
Remove wilted blooms to tell your plant to make more of 'em.  

soil in shovel

13. Improve your soil by working in a few inches of compost
Manure and peat moss work great too.

14. Tackle spring plantings on cloudy days
New plants take best to cool soil.

15. Use broth from cooking veggies to water your plants
"Veggie soup" is the best plant food.  

terracotta pot stacks

16. Broken terra-cotta pots? Place their shards around plants like so
This will keep critters from tearing up your geraniums. 

17. And edge your flowerbeds with rocks
To help discourage grasses and weeds from taking over.

18. Line container gardens with a thin layer of gravel  
Proper drainage is key here, people.

butterfly on bush

19. Plant blooming herbs to attract butterflies
Like lavender and beebalm.

20. But make sure you have evergreens like boxwood and heath too
You want your garden to look good in every season, right?

21. Holes for bulbs should be two to three times as deep as the bulb itself
They need room to grow, after all. 

gardening gear

22. Wear gardening gloves
Those rose bushes are no match for your protected paws.

23. Run your fingernails across a bar of soap
Gardener hack: This will seal off dirt from accumulating under your nails.

24. Don’t jump the gun and plant too early in the season
Check your local last "frost dates” here. (Hint: It’s mid-May in the Northeast.)

green seedlings

25. Add a tiny bit of fertilizer to water for new plants
It’s like giving a toddler milk for strong bones. 

26. Plant marigolds along your borders to keep unwanted bugs away 
Gnats and mosquitos hate 'em. 

27. Load up on perennials like irises and hyacinths
They’re splurgier than annuals, but they’ll save you work and money in the long run (since they regrow from the same root system every year).

benjamin combs 27617 unsplash

28. Use weed preventing products like Preen
When it comes to weeding, extra reinforcements are often necessary.

29. Or use mulch to smother weeds entirely 
Works like a charm, honest.

30. And then use it as a pretty filler for barren spots
Like underneath your sycamore, where you can't seem to grow anything. Three cheers for pretty, easy fixes. 

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