It’s a Jungle Out There - Advice for First Time Gardeners
Gardening can be a formidable task for first timers, and newbies are often discouraged when their efforts to create an alluring outside space are stymied by inexperience. However, once the bug has bitten, gardening becomes a rewarding and enjoyable pass time. Here are a few of the basics to get your garden off the ground.
No, really. Where do I even begin?
Maintaining a smaller area to start with is a less daunting task, so beginning with a bed or two is a good way to get into the swing of things.
Gardening in containers can also be a great way to get a feel for how plants grow. Potted plants can easily be moved around, which helps to gain an understanding of which plants thrive in which areas of your garden.
Soil – A Good Grounding
As beginner gardeners, we often take soil quality for granted. The health of your plants depends greatly on the soil in which they are planted. However, not all plants have the same needs, so a bit of research in this regard can be the difference between blooming or dooming. Read more on our blog posts
Unfortunately, not all insects are welcome in the garden, and certain pests can create havoc if not attended to. It is important to act quickly if there are signs of unwanted critters and there are many resources available for DIY and Organic pesticides. Many plants such as Marigolds and Nasturtiums, Lavender, Rosemary and Geraniums act as natural insect deterrents, and planting some of these between your other plants can be a helpful way to discourage pests.
Weed Much Rather Not…
As the saying goes “When weeding, the best way to ensure that you are not removing a valuable plant, is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground completely, it’s a valuable plant.” Many first-timers avoid weeding for exactly this reason. However, there are a few tips to avoid a weed-induced nightmare situation. One such trick is to lay your potting soil in your beds or containers before planting your new flora. Water the soil a few times so that any unwanted seeds within the soil germinate. You can then pull them out before your new plants go in, thereby avoiding a lot of the guesswork that accompanies weeding.
A Seedy Affair
For first time gardeners, its recommended to start with established plants or seedlings, rather than seeds. Germination can be dicey, and one can easily lose hope when one's seeds don’t sprout. Established plants also provide a slightly more instant sense of gratification, and as a newbie, it’s always great to see the fruits of your labour with little delay. Investing in tube stock almost a guaranteed method to ensure that your “not-yet-so-green-fingers” don’t have an adverse effect on your gardening efforts. These plants have been given the opportunity to create a mature root system, and so tend to be suited to first-time gardeners.
It’s also a good idea to use indigenous plants when possible. They usually require less maintenance and tend to be hardier, as they require less adjustment to the environment.
Tracking The Good, The Bad and The Bloom
Track your progress by taking photographs. Plants grow slowly, and sometimes it’s easy to forget how much headway you’ve made when you see your garden every day. Keeping a “log” of your new garden is a great way to remind yourself of progress. It’s also a great way to remind yourself of what went wrong if (worst case scenario) you have a few casualties along the way.
Perhaps most importantly, is to remember that gardening is a feat learned through trial and error. Everyone has to start somewhere, and with a bit of practice, even a newbie can eventually become a seasoned gardener.