Top 8 Gardening Tips for New Gardeners
Having your own garden at home can be rewarding and soothing. Planting vegetables and flowers with your own hands and watching them grow is sure to give you a sense of joy and pride, as well as ensure that you get food made from fresh produce on your table every day.
Not just that, gardening is quite therapeutic because it allows you to do your thing and communicate with nature. You get to spend time in the green outdoors and take in that much needed but elusive oxygen-rich fresh air. And there’s always something in store for the creative ones, with the entire garden becoming their canvas.
Of course, you can take the easy way out and lay out high quality synthetic grass in your yard. That way, you can enjoy having a green space without having to wait for the grass to grow and you won’t even have to tend much to it.
But if your heart is set on having a natural garden, then stop wondering about how it’s done and take control. Read on for a few helpful gardening tips that are sure to find good use in channelizing your inner gardener.
Read, Read, Read
Because you’re new to it, it makes good sense to familiarize yourself with some gardening practices before actually getting down to it. Equip yourself with all the knowledge you need by reading about it online, subscribing to gardening magazines, and referring to horticulture books. These resources can fill you in a great deal about your favorite flowers and plants and will provide clarity about the kind of garden you want to grow.
Before zeroing in on a plant or flower to grow in your garden, always consider how big it will grow up to be. Many amateur gardeners do not keep this aspect in mind and make the mistake of planting the big ones too closely to each other or to other plants.
Once the bigger plants start to grow, they will need more space to spread/branch out. So you need to be mindful when planting them in the first place so that you don’t end up with an overcrowded garden.
Leave enough space around your plants so that they can grow without any hindrances. If your chosen plant typically grows to be 4 inches wide when fully mature, you should plant it at least 2 inches away from other plants.
Pick the Right Spot
Picking the right spot for your plants is extremely crucial for their growth. Make sure you choose a place that receives ample sunlight and supply of water for the plants to grow or they will shrivel and die. This is especially true of vegetables and flowers.
Sunlight is essential for photosynthesis to occur so you need to choose the spots wisely and practically.
Prep the Soil
The roots of your plants are going to be in the soil, so a lot of thought and consideration needs to go into prepping the soil before sowing the seeds. The health of the roots is crucial as any trouble with them will reflect in your plant. Most soil in our homes isn’t ready to foster plants, so you need to give the garden soil the nutrients it needs to support plant growth by adding organic matter, manure, and compost to it.
Organic matter improves the quality of the soil and makes it capable of holding water for the roots of the plants in a hot and dry climate. It also allows excess rainwater to flow away. It breaks up hard soil to make space for air to reach the roots. You also need to make the soil immune to pests and rodents by spraying it with fertilizers and pesticides.
Sow the Seeds
Sowing seeds also takes planning. You may have observed that your enthusiastic gardener of a neighbor sows his seeds at a particular time of the year. Talk to him to know more about plant cycles. Gardeners usually sow seeds in late winter. Many stores sell seeds in packets that also contain sowing instructions. Do refer to that information before you start seeding.
Give Mulch a Thought
Mulching can be great for the look as well as the maintenance of your garden. After you’ve sown the seeds and covered them with soil, spread a generous layer of organic mulch over it. It will act as a protective sheath that regulates temperature, conserves moisture, and keeps soil-borne diseases and erosion at bay. It will also keep the soil soft, fertile, safe from weeds, and promote the growth of earthworms, which aerate the soil.
Every gardener needs basic gardening tools such as a three-pronged handrake, a trowel, a shovel, and shears. These tools help in digging the soil as well as in making holes in the ground for seeding and planting.
Apart from these, you will also need a good quality garden hose or a water sprinkler to water your foliage. You’re also going to need a sturdy and wide-brimmed hat, a good pair of long (elbow length) gardening gloves and a sunblock lotion with a high SPF to keep yourself clean and protected when out in your garden.
Food for Soil
As already mentioned, the health of your plant will depend on the quality of the soil, which in turn, will depend on the sunlight, air, water and fertilizers it receives. Feed the soil with organic matter which will provide it with essential nutrients and also aid in breeding certain worms, bacteria and fungi that make those nutrients available to the plants.
Water the soil as and when needed. It will need more water during summers and less during winters. Also remember that different plants require different soil types to grow.
I do realize that gardening isn’t an easy job and those who haven’t gotten their hands dirty playing with earth ever before can easily get lost in this activity. But newbies, don’t lose heart because it isn’t rocket science either. In fact, you should know that there is a gardener hidden inside each one of us. You just have to let it out.
KGI is a nonprofit community of over 30,000 people who are growing some of our own food and helping others to do the same.
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