Gardening Tips To Help Beginners Create A Great Space
Gardening is an enjoyable hobby that brings families together and provides a calm presence in our sometimes chaotic lives. With so many people interested in starting a garden or creating a beautiful landscape in their own backyard, there is no shortage of information available, and sometimes, sifting through it all can feel overwhelming. If you are new to gardening, the first tip is to relax. Unbeknown to most, it really isn’t rocket science, and anyone is capable of creating a great space with a bit of guidance.
A common novice mistake in the world of gardening is starting too big. With limitless options when it comes to purchasing seeds and bulbs and selecting plants, bushes and trees, it can be rather enticing to want to have it all and bite off more than you can chew.
A better plan is to start small. Select a few of your favorite varieties, perhaps beginning with some easy to grow and maintain choices from the list below:
- Sweet Peas
- Summer Squash
- Maiden Grass
Once you have narrowed selections, do a little homework. Learn a bit about the plants you have picked such as when they bloom, how tall or wide they grow and whether they prefer sun or shade. The Internet is a great resource, as are the tags placed on any plant in a gardening center. When in doubt, turn to your local greenhouse for information about native plants that may offer optimum growth and require low maintenance in your area. Having this information helps you to decide which of your chosen varieties will work best in your yard and with your lifestyle, and where on your property to plant them to optimize health.
Select a Spot
Now it’s time to pick a spot. As a general rule, many plants need at least six hours of sunlight each day to thrive. To locate the best area in your yard, spend a day watching the sun’s patterns around your home. Are some spots too sunny? Perhaps others are too shady? If you can find a spot that is close to water, such as near a spigot or with easy access to a drip hose, all the better.
Prepare the Soil
Once you have picked your spot, it is time to give your plants every advantage by preparing the soil. Start this process early, at least two or three months before planting, for optimum results. If sod is covering the spot where you want to plant, you will have to get rid of it. Prevent it from re-growing naturally by placing a layer or two of newspaper overtop the sod and underneath about a 3-inch layer of topsoil. With time, this will kill the sod and prevent its reappearance. Pick out any weeds or unwanted plants, and make sure the dirt is adequately moistened but not saturated, think about the texture of crumbly chocolate cake rather than fudge to give yourself a strong lead. Also, provide your soil with any necessary boost by adding compost or organic fertilizer.
Time to Plant
Next the fun begins because it’s time to plant! If you are starting with seeds, the goal is to plant them deep enough but not too deep. The rule of thumb is to plant larger seeds a few inches deep and smaller seeds closer to the surface. Make sure you read the packet information, and follow it to the letter to increase your chances of a successful growing season.
When planting bulbs, it is essential to get the planting season right. If you have purchased spring bulbs, you’ll want to plant in September or October. If you decided on summer bulbs, plan to start your garden in early spring, after the last frost is behind you. Most bulbs like a planting hole that is about 2 to 3 times deeper than the size of the bulb, and they all need to be planted pointy side up or you’ll lose your chance of ever seeing flowers.
If your garden is beginning with youngling plants, the most important thing to remember is to space them appropriately. Some plants and bushes can grow quickly, and crowding them might reduce their size, beauty, health and appeal. Spacing a garden too far apart also has the potential to reduce its appeal and prevents companion plants from helping each other as effectively as they might if they were planted a bit closer together. Specific information about how to space many varieties of plants is available at your local greenhouse. It is also helpful to use the general rule of spacing smaller plants about 6 to 12 inches apart and any perennials with a potential growth of 2 to 3 feet tall approximately 12 to 18 inches apart.
Plant Maintenance and Closing Thoughts
Now that your garden is planted, the next step is to maintain it. The basics include watering regularly without over watering (remember to think crumbly chocolate cake when you look at your soil), adding fertilizer when necessary, pruning dead leaves and flowers in a timely fashion and preventing or removing pests and disease, organically whenever possible. Don’t over think getting started with a garden or plant maintenance. Instead, use some common sense and rely on a bit of trial and error to see how your flowering friends respond to any actions. When in doubt, you can always turn to a local gardening store or specialist for more advice and a higher level of assistance. Now put your fears behind you, and get ready to create your own natural masterpiece!