If you ever drove by a flower meadow in the middle of summer, you must have realized that plants handle themselves very well without human assistance, as they’ve always done. The gardener is only there to cheer them along.

A plant needs three things to thrive: sunlight, water and a proper balance of nutrients. From here on the details of what that means for each species vary wildly.

Sunlight is the most important component, since it can’t be supplemented, like the other two. No plant will do well with the wrong sun exposure, no matter how much care the green thumb doles upon it. If the label says full sun, that means at least eight hours a day.

Water only if the plants need it, which means when the soil is dry to the depth of one inch, or if they show signs of wilting, and then take your time to make sure that water seeps deeply into the ground. Rare and deep waterings encourage plants to develop strong root systems.

Sure it would be nice to go all natural and use no commercial fertilizers, but unless you have some well rotted manure laying around to mix into the plant beds in spring, or you compost large amounts of organic material, the nutrients in your garden soil will get depleted over time because plants that produce flowers and fruit are heavy feeders. A handful of organic fertilizer every month will keep your garden happy and blooming.

Author's Bio: 

Main Areas: Garden Writing; Sustainable Gardening; Homegrown Harvest
Published Books: “Terra Two”; “Generations”; "The Plant - A Steampunk Story"; "Letters to Lelia"; "Fair"; "Door Number Eight"; "A Year and A Day"; "Möbius' Code"; "Between Mirrors"; "The Blue Rose Manuscript"
Career Focus: Author; Consummate Gardener;
Affiliation: All Year Garden; The Weekly Gardener; Francis Rosenfeld's Blog

I started blogging in 2010, to share the joy of growing all things green and the beauty of the garden through the seasons. Two garden blogs were born: allyeargarden.com and theweeklygardener.com, a periodical that followed it one year later. I wanted to assemble an informal compendium of the things I learned from my grandfather, wonderful books, educational websites, and my own experience, in the hope that other people might use it in their own gardening practice.