For the most part, I think having a green thumb is overrated. Knowledge goes a long way in making people successful at gardening. I have listed 12 facts that will help you be a good gardener.
Know your soils. A soils test is very helpful in knowing what to do for your plants and turf. Just go online to http://al-labs-plains.com. This is the website for A & L Agricultural Plains Laboratories. On this site, you will find information telling you how to take a soil test and a form to fill out to send in with your test. The results are the key to what needs to be applied for healthier and more vigorous plant growth.
Know your hardiness zone. At Pomona, you are in Zone 9 so do not fall in love with plants that will not survive in this area.
Know proper plant spacing. Plant accordint to a plant’s mature size. Over-crowded plants are unhealthy. Most labels on plants will give you the height and width of a mature plant. If not, there is always the internet!
Know what plants are native to your area. Native plants will survive our hot summer, periods of drought and most of the time, any rapid temperature changes in the fall. They are also more resistant to insect and diseases. And most importantly, they like our soils.
Know water requirements for your plants. Do not overwater. Your soils hold water!
Know how to select an interesting plant pallette. Do not plant too many of any one plant. Mix your planting.
Know how to mulch your yard. Mulching with a brown, double-ground hardwood mulch will help to consesrve water and give your beds a neat appearance. Maintain mulching depth at 2 inches.
Know how often to fertilize. Fertilize your turf all your plants growing in the soil 3 to 4 times per year in march, May, July and September. Use an organic based, slow release fertilizer like Holganix. Fertilizer your container plantings every 2 weeks during with growing season with Miracle Gro plant food.
Know how often to apply a pre-emergent to help with weed control. Apply to your turf and beds 3 times a year in February, May and September. Use Preem or Halts to help prevent a weed invasion in your yard.
Know how to correctly prune plants. There are many books and information online for proper pruning of trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, etc.
Know to remove dead wood, dead leaves and dead plants from your landscape. Do this removal as soon as dead appears. Not only is this dead wood and leaves and spent blooms unsightly, by removing, you will know if the plant continues to decline and you will have time to react before it dies.
Know how to identify pests. Neem Oil is a very safe insecticide and fungicide. It is orangic and affective, so be sure to apply before pests take over your plants.
Just a little knowledge in these key areas will turn you into a green thumb and your success will be based in knowledge and not just luck or chance!