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Thumbs Up To Green: Regenerating Your Green Thumb

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If you've struggled with your garden and your neighbors whisper amongst themselves about your sad crop of squash, don't despair. You can regenerate your thumb to a photosynthetic green.

Know Your Zone

There are lots of websites or apps that will help you determine your plant hardiness zone and the plants that will thrive in that area. Your zone is a combination of climate, soil type, and elevation and can vary by neighborhood, which means you may not be able to grow roses like your Aunt Myrtle across town. You can use your ZIP code to find your exact Hardiness Zone, so you can grow the hydrangeas that give her fits.

Get in the Dirt

If you just can't make anything grow, you may need to have your soil tested. You can pick up a kit at a nursery or a home improvement center. Once you know what dirt you're dealing with, you can amend the soil to make it more vibrant. You'll probably need to rent a tiller if you're working with any beds, and work in the recommended nutrients with garden soil and peat moss for water retention and some natural fertilizer to make everything really bloom.

Sun, Shade, and In-Between

Check the light in your yard during the day to determine the sun's orientation. Nursery plants will be tagged with sun and water requirements. You might want to check gardening guides for more specific rules of thumb – for example, tomatoes need lots of sun, so put them where there's plenty of afternoon light. Hydrangeas bloom different colors depending on the alkaline or acid content of the soil – if you prefer one or the other, you can amend the soil to get the pink or blue you want. Unless you want white, so you'll need neutral soil. 


Every plant calls for a different amount of water. Take care to avoid putting drought tolerant plants next to plants that hog water. A place like Done Right Landscapes can help you figure out how much or how little you should water your plants.


If all this soil testing, and amending, and suitability determination make you tired, try containers or houseplants. You can pot just about anything and move the pot around until you find the right sun/shade combination. You could also try houseplants like Christmas Cactus or jade that require little water, low light, and will last forever.

Keep these tips in mind and it is only a matter of time where you will be able to give your neighbors a green thumbs up again.