A novice gardener needs basic help :(
Hello! My name is Courtney, and I just recently began to garden, in an attempt to make my ugly and desolage porch look a little nicer. I live in an apartment complex, so everything is done in pots, and right now I have 6 total - one pot is all pre-grown flowers, so I'm not as concerned about them, but three of the others have new seeds in them. One in particular I'm worried about, I planted some annuals and they pushed up through the soil in a few days, but now the larger plants are getting crunchy around the edges, and many of them are dying... I'm not really sure why, I water them several times a day (once in the morning, once at night and sometimes once after I get back from class), but I might not be watering them enough. I live in a fairly dry place, and the sun has been out a lot, so they might be drying out too quickly. HOWEVER, there is also the possibility that I'm just watering them too much and they're dying. I think over watering might be the problem with another plant that I have as well....
I guess really what I was hoping to get help with is this: how can I tell if I'm over- and/or underwatering plants? What are the signs, etc.
Also, I got some dealit that is supposed to tell me the amount of water in a plants soil, but I'm not sure if I can trust it...are those things worth it? What are good brands, etc. I really am VERY new at this.
and Finally, when it gets cold, windy, or super rainy out I bring my plants in, but my apartment isn't blessed with air conditioning (c'est la vive de une college student, non?), so it can be hot some times. I understand that plants are supposed live outside and all, but I feel the need to bring them in. Am I doing the right thing, or might this be contributing to their problems?
I'm sorry to have so many questions, but I can't find the answers any where else, and I don't want my plants to die!
Thank you, ahead of time, for anyone who helps me. I have classes today, so it will be later in the day before I can check back and thank ya'll properly, but I promise I will return!
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!