Many people get the garden planted and think they’re done. I’ve heard customers say things like “The sprinkler system will water the plants, the landscaper will take care of the lawn and all I need to do is pick the veggies once and awhile.” The truth is – that’s not exactly what’s best for your garden.

Maintaining a beautiful garden, with little or no disease problems, insects or weeds requires a watchful eye. I like to take a walk through the garden each week to check the progress of my plants. Did the tomatoes form yet? Does the lawn have any brown spots? Do I need to pick the basil or prune back those dead spring bloomers yet? These are just a few of the questions I ask myself when I walk my yard.

If you do it weekly, checking-in with your garden takes no time at all – and I think you’ll enjoy watching how your plants progress throughout the season. There is a real sense of pride in being able to say “Hey – I grew that and its thriving!”

Pay careful attention to trees, shrubs, lawn, annuals and perennials, planters, herbs and vegetables. You may not always know exactly what the problem is and how to handle it, but a walk through the garden each week might make you stop and think “Hey – that looked much happier last week – what’s different?” Then you can always email us (, call us (516-334-0066) or reach out to us on social media (Facebook, Twitter or Instagram) for help with your problem. Our garden experts and horticulturalists are here to help you!

So now let’s look at some of the questions we received this week along with our responses – who knows? Maybe you’ll learn something you can apply to your own garden.

Question: How often do I need to water the outdoor planters on my patio?

plantersAnswer: As often as they need water. I know this sounds like a snippy response, but it’s true! It depends on many factors including what the planter is made out of (clay, concrete, plastic), what type of soil is in the planter and which direction the planter is facing (north, south, east, west). The easiest way to know how often to water your planters is to get out there and check them. Simply stick your finger about an inch into the soil. If it feels wet, leave it be. If the soil feels dry – water. If you’re not sure? Check it again tomorrow. After a while you’ll come to know your plants and will have a better instinct for how often to water. And of course good planters begin with good soil, so be sure to use a good mix like Dr. Earth All-Purpose Planting Mix.

Question: My rose bush has little bugs and the leaves have dark spots – what can I use to correct this?

Answer: We suggest you spray your rose bush with Espoma 3-in-1 Disease Control. The product controls Black Spot and Powdery Mildew and kills Insects and Mites. Follow the directions listed in the bottle. Also, make sure you water your roses at the base of the plant, not on the leaves.

Question: Last year I got a fungus/blight on my tomatoes. Any products from your nursery to battle this issue? I want ORGANIC treatment.

Answer: We would suggest you use a copper spray on the tomatoes, which is approved for organic gardening. It helps to suppress and control diseases like blossom end rot, powdery mildew and more. And of course, we have it in stock here at Hicks.