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Beginners Guide to Gardening

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One of the best hobbies out there for you is gardening. Here are some of the reasons why it’s good for you aside from getting you out in the beautiful sunshine.

  • It keeps you active. When you are busy planting those seeds and maintaining your lawn, you will be surprised how many calories you will burn. In fact, as Web MD describes, you can lose between 200-400 calories.
  • It’s so rewarding. When you see your efforts pay off, it will fill you with glee and can help lift your confidence.
  • It relieves stress. It takes your mind off any concerns and helps you to concentrate on something else. It’s highly therapeutic and calming to the mind.
  • It makes the most of your outdoor space which might not be used a lot by your family, and it’s an activity you can do together.

When should you start gardening

You don’t want to plant too early in the season if you are hoping to fill your garden with beautiful plants. The best months to make it easier to start growing in your garden is in the spring in March and April. The soil is finally warming up so your plants will be well nourished and will stay warm and hydrated so they can grow well. If you do miss out on planting in March and April, you still can sow seeds as you enter into May. After all, the soil is nice and warm so it makes for a nice new home for your plants. As it says in this article from Urban Farmer, later in the summer you can still plant crops which will provide you with vegetables into the fall.

Now you know when the best months are to grow your plants, you can then see that at the end of summer you need to stop growing in your garden. With limited sunlight and poor weather on the horizon, it can make it much more difficult. Therefore, you need to make sure you do avoid planting as summer comes to an end. You don’t want to plant any as autumn and winter arrives unless you are growing inside. Hold out on planting until the last of the frost is finished so that when you do start, you know you have seen out the poor weather.

Basic Gardening tips and tricks

Getting started with gardening can be harder than it looks. Therefore, here are some tips for gardening beginners to get them started on their gardening journey.

Choose the right plants for your soil

A lot of people make the error of not checking out their soil type before they head to their local nursery. They just go and choose plants and then find they don’t grow correctly in the type of soil they have in their garden. Therefore, check out the soil in your garden to see if its heavy or light. You can then keep a note of this before you do get your new plants.

Give plants enough space

Another thing you need to do is make sure that you position the plants well. After all, if you don’t place them in the soil with enough room, they won’t grow to their full potential. They may even die if they are competing for the nutrients from the soil with other plants who are situated too close to them. It can be tempting to fill your garden with lots of beautiful different plants. But putting too many in one area of the garden will mean that you will lose some of them.

Water the crops regularly

You need to make sure you water the crops at a regular fashion if you want them to grow well over the growing period. It will provide them with nutrients and help them to get everything they need to flourish in your garden. But do not go overboard. It’s easy to end up drowning your plant as you have given them too much water. As it says on Fantastic Gardeners blog, you need to water young plants daily but once they fully form, make sure you only water once every 2-3 days so they don’t end up being overwatered.

Deal with weeds

One of the worst things that a gardener has to deal with is weeds. They turn up unexpected and can damage your plants beyond repair. One of the major problems is that it damages the root of the plant so that they struggle to get their oxygen and nutrients. Therefore, you need to make sure you deal with weeds without delay. Use some form of a tool like a garden tool to rake up the weed ensuring you don’t harm any other plants when you are doing the removal. If you do find any seeds on the weeds, you can reseed these at a later date.

How to dig up plants

One thing you will soon learn is that you will need to dig up plants that are past their best or have died already in your garden. Not only do they bring down the appeal of your garden, but you will also want to remove them to make space for new plants. If you are wondering how to dig up plants, you should make sure they are well watered and then cut around the crown of the plant before using a spade to remove the roots. Here in this article from Gardening Know How is some further advice on digging up plants.

Discover your zone

You should also make sure you choose an area in your garden that is best for planting. Otherwise, you will find the plant will soon wilt and will need replacing before long. It’s always worth looking at the hardiness zone which is the coldest place a plant can grow. You want something which is in a higher zone so that it will grow well with the warmer weather.

Be gentle with new plants

You should make sure that you are not too rough with the plants if you want them to last in your garden. After all, if you make an error by pulling at plants in the wrong area, you could damage them and then they might not survive. Therefore, when manhandling the plants, you need to make sure you place the pot upside and catch the plant as it glides out. That way, you are not actually touching the stems or the roots, so no damage will occur to the plant.

Common gardening mistakes you should avoid

It’s easy to make a few errors when you are a gardening newbie. Here are a few you need to avoid when you are getting started and why.

Misjudging the sunlight

This is a big mistake that new gardeners make when it comes to planting their seeds. They don’t look at where the sunlight goes in their garden, so they might plant seeds in an area which doesn’t get much sunlight. As sunlight is so important for plants, it might not grow as well without it.

Not remembering where each plant is

When you are planting a large number of plants in your garden, it’s easy to forget where you have placed each one. But if you do this, you won’t be able to cater to the individual needs of each plant. Therefore, add small labels so you know what is planted where in your garden.

Taking on too many plants

When you are at the beginning of your gardening journey, you only want to start with a few plants. It’s easy to get overexcited and choose a wide range of plants to add to your beloved garden. But they will be a nightmare to look after and will become too much work.

Not finding out more about the plants

So many newbie gardeners don’t do any research about a plant before taking it home. They then end up with something which needs a lot of work to flourish. Therefore, research with books and online to find out which plants are suitable for you.

Not getting the beds ready

You can’t just place seeds in beds that haven’t been properly dug. You need to make sure you dig out the garden beds properly and add plenty of compost so that the seeds will grow well in their new home.

How to prepare soil for planting

You need to make sure you know what soil you have in your garden, so you can prepare it ready for growing your new plants. If your soil is heavy, it is likely high in nutrients but will be quite dry during the summer months. You will then need to make sure it’s well hydrated ready for the seeds to be planted. If the soil is quite light, you will need to improve it so that it will give the right amount of nutrients to your plants. The best thing you can do is use compost into the top few inches of the soil which will then break down ready for spring. You can also place newspaper on the soil with compost and after a few months, it will be ready for the plants. If your soil is lacking in PH, you can use lime pellets to help increase it. Another problem with soil which will need your attention is if it’s causing drainage problems. As discussed on houselogic, whether the soil particles are too large or too small, you can improve the condition of the soil by adding compost, leaf mould and straw.

Important Gardening tools and equipment you need

The must haves

Pruning scissors

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Pruning scissors are an essential tool you need to cut plants and bushes and help to maintain your plants.

Shears

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Similar to the pruning scissors, you can also get shears which are an essential tool you will need for when you need to work on larger plants.

Tools for digging and raking

Digging

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A garden spade is an essential tool for digging up plants and holes in your garden ready for your seeds.

Trowel

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A trowel is another necessity when you are getting those holes in your garden ready for your new plants.

Gardening rake

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Every new gardener needs to invest in a useful garden rake. You will use this when you are working on the soil and if you need to remove any old plants from your yard ready for some fresh and exciting new plants.

Tools for watering

Hose pipe

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You will need to regularly water your garden to keep your plants in good condition. One thing which is essential is a garden hose. This will help you to water the grass, plants and lawn easily

without too much hassle. If you can’t get access to a watering hose, you then need to get a watering can. This will come in useful for those smaller plants.

Tools for weeding

Blade

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As well as using a trowel which we discussed earlier, it’s a good idea to get hold of a gardening knife for when you are weeding in your garden. It will help you to get rid of the weeds easily without damaging any other plants in your yard.

Easiest plants to grow in the garden

Pansies

One of the easiest plants to go for when you are getting started in your garden is pansies. They are not only low-maintenance but they can withstand colder temperatures, so you don’t have to worry about weather changes.

Sunflowers

With sunflowers not needing direct sunlight, they can thrive in all soils and can deal with droughts, they make an excellent plant to start off with in your garden. You can fertilise them easily and then watch them flourish in your garden.

Marigolds

You don’t need to give marigolds much attention, so they are a great choice for easy growing. They can be placed in any bedding and they look beautiful once they grow into their known vibrant colour.

Hardy Geranium

Being a low-maintenance flower, a hardy geranium needs little weeding and it’s very easy to grow from seeds. Just make sure you put them in drained soil.

Fuchsia

Another plant you should start within your garden is fuchsia. They are such a popular choice due to them being low-maintenance and can add beautiful colours in your garden.

Easiest fruits to grow in the garden

Strawberries

It’s one of the nation’s popular fruits and it’s a great fruit to start your growing journey with as long as it gets plenty of sunshine and is placed in a hanging basket or pot.

Apples

You can give apples a good go as a starter fruit as long as you grow them in the ground and make sure the soil is well-drained and it is in a position of good sunlight.

Blackberries

A delicious fruit, blackberries are easy to grow and need little attention. Plant in the spring and then you will be eating these in the summer.

Raspberries

Place raspberries in raised beds or containers and you will find they will flourish into the delicious fruit that your family will enjoy.

Blueberries

Give your garden a delicious smell with these good starter fruits. Blueberries are best placed in containers and will deliver you a tasty treat at the end of the summer months.

Easiest vegetables to grow in the garden

Tomatoes

A lot of people begin their gardening journey with tomatoes. Whether they are placed in a pot or the ground, they will flourish after the frost weather has passed.

Potatoes

You can’t go wrong easily with potatoes. If you plant them in the spring, you will be enjoying the delicious vegetable in the summer months.

Peas

As a nation, we love peas. And thankfully, the green goodies are an easy vegetable to grow. Place them in the ground or in pots.

Courgettes

You might be surprised to know that courgettes are also an easy vegetable to grow in your garden. Just make sure you water and pick them regularly to keep the plant healthy.

Runner beans

Runner beans should also be on your radar as they are easy to grow. They can crop for months if you tend to them properly.

How to protect your crops from pests

Here are some tips and tricks on how to stop pests from ruining your plants and crops.

Create a barrier between the pests and your plants

It’s a good idea to use some form of barrier like a piece of fabric to stop pests making home in your plants. You can pin it to the ground to stop them feasting on your beloved plants. There are other things you can buy such as row covers as discussed on Savvy Gardening which can be handy to save your plants.

Keep your plants healthy

You should also make sure you keep your plants in a good condition if you want to stop pests. Make sure you water them regularly and get rid of any weeds which can make them a target. Ensure the soil is in good condition and make sure they have good sunlight.

Don’t put plants too close together

If you put loads of plants in the same area, you have more of a chance of them becoming infected with pests. They will spread more quickly if they are in the same area. Therefore, spread the plants around your garden to stop pests.

Use non-toxic products

While you won’t want to use toxic products on your plants, you can keep them safe with a number of things you might have lying around in your kitchen. For instance, garlic and corn gluten are just two which will safely get rid of pests without damaging the plants.

Here are some of the common pests you’ll find in your garden to keep a watch out for:

  • Slugs
  • Beetles
  • Caterpillars
  • Mites
  • Scale Insects

Products to help you through the growing season

It’s sometimes easier to use a product rather than growing plants, fruits and vegetables in the ground. Here are a few options you might want to look into for your garden.

Polytunnels

A polytunnel is a great way to start your growing journey as it allows you an area to grow without having to worry about the dangers of weather. You can grow all year round and the plants will have access to sunshine. It also erases the fear of pests and the frame will allow the plants to stay warm. You can get them in a range of sizes to fit your garden.

Raised beds

An excellent way to grow fruit and vegetables, raised beds are a useful and appealing addition to your garden. The bed can stop weeds and pests from getting to your produce and it’s excellent for keeping the soil in good condition too.

Fertilizers

If you want to ensure your plants grow well in your garden, it’s worth investing in some form of fertilizer for your garden. It provides the soil with more nutrients to enable your plants to grow better in your garden.

Containers and pots

A lot of plants, vegetables and fruits grow a lot better when placed in a form of container or pot in the garden. It gives them the shade they need during bad weather and provides a warm and safe base away from weeds and pest. It’s also ideal as you can bring them in when the winter weather hits.

Summary

 If you follow the above tips, you should have a healthy and beautiful garden full of blossoming plants, fruits and vegetables. You will soon be able to experiment with new plants as you become more experienced at gardening. With your garden brimming with life, it’s always good at looking at other ways to make it an ideal entertaining area by investing in accessories and furniture to give it a finishing touch. For instance, you might want to look at investing in a beautiful table and chair for dining in your garden.

Anna is the marketing and office manager for Garden Benches – a premium supplier of high-quality wooden benches and other outdoor furniture.

Anna Sharples

Anna is the marketing and office manager for Garden Benches - a premium supplier of high-quality wooden benches and other outdoor furniture.

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