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Gardening Tips For Beginners

Gardening Tips For Beginners



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By Georgia

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Firstly… fantastic! Choosing to pickup gardening is a great addition to your life both in terms of physical exercise and for mental wellbeing too. The sense of achievement from creating a garden – be it for form of function – is intoxicating and I guarantee you will be hooked! Whilst much can feel overwhelming at the start, the most important thing to remember is that there are no mistakes, just learning, and not to let fear prevent you from starting. Gardens, landscape, and nature are ingrained into the human psyche – its like rewilding or unlocking a part of the brain that has always been there.

So, what next? You know you want a garden that not only looks fab but what do you want from you garden? You might want to grow flowers, you might want fruit and vegetables, you might want a space to entertain friends and family… or you might want a tropical paradise – all of the above can aid the escape from the hustle and bustle of life but actually thinking about what you want to achieve from your space will help you to focus, prevent feelings of being overwhelmed, and will target your decisions when buying.

 

There are some basic things you will need to purchase to get started – TOOLS! At the very least I would recommend buying a decent border spade and fork. These are slightly smaller and brilliant for manipulating the soil without causing too much disturbance – great everyday bits of kit! You will also need some reasonable secateurs for pruning, tidying, and cutting things back. These can really vary in price, but if you can afford a more expensive pair – such as Felco, they are a great investment. Cheaper snips tend to blunt quickly or can break under pressure. You will also require some hand tools – a trowel and hand fork. These are useful for getting smaller jobs done such as weeding, planting small plants and bulbs and just about anything that requires the finer manipulation of the soil or compost. Lastly, get yourself a good set of gloves to protect your hands.

 



Get to know your soil

 

Gardens have different soil types and therefore different plants that will grow in that soil. Soil is divided into 6 main groups: Sandy, Silty, Clay, Peaty, Loamy and Chalky. By understanding your soil, its structure and how to improve it, you will be able to select plants that will thrive in your garden environment. You’ll also learn how water retentive your soil is. Some soils remain very wet and some dry out very quickly. This can even vary in different spots in the garden particularly when considering shaded areas and sunny spots. This will be key in knowing where you need to water more and less frequently.


Get to know weeds



Given the chance they will run amuck in the garden and some can prevent your plants from thriving. A good rule of thumb is if you did not plant it, and its not something you wanted to keep – like an herbaceous perennial – its probably not part of your plan and it can be removed. If you are unsure, that is ok, you can observe the seedling until its large enough to identify – but please be carful as if it reaches the stage where it sets seed, you could end up with a much bigger problem.



Get to know your insects



We all want to create a haven for bees and butterflies and indeed creating a garden very much means one follows the other. However, you will need to be able to spot those insects which are beneficial to your garden and those which are in fact pests and have the potential to decimate your plants and flowers. You will learn to notice the little signs like holes in leaves, or signs of ill health. A book for both pests and disease would really help with identification and control.



Start with things that you like



But start with things that are also easy. For example, growing fruit and vegetables may be your main objective, so start with something like cucumber, rhubarb, or strawberries. These are easy to grow, require little care - in relative terms – and the success will give you experience and confidence to try more difficult things as the seasons progress. These are also great for getting the children involved in gardening too! Flowers can also have their demands but provided you choose plants according to your site and aspect you’ll soon be rewarded. At the end of the day all plants are pretty determined to survive, so with a little care and nurturing there is nothing to fear, and if it’s not quite right, you can relocate the plant.



Join a local gardening group



Clubs have really moved on in recent years. There is such a diverse range of people who love gardens and gardening and with so much experience, support, and advice to give, you will really find the people here an invaluable local resource for getting started on your horticultural journey. Choosing a local group is also great as they often understand and have experience of the local area, local soil, and other local knowledge that all helps to understand your own garden. It is incredible what you can find out and people really do want to share their knowledge – learned often from their own mistakes – and you will soon be offering newbies advice too! Another great bonus of a gardening club is that there are often free plants – people love to share be it from excess seedlings or divided perennials.



Learn how to compost



It may not be an immediate goal but it’s worth the effort. Making your own compost will be an invaluable source of nourishment for your soil and will, in turn, bring you brilliant results in the garden or allotment. There are several composting solutions on the market which suit all sizes of garden so there is really no excuse. You can also build your own composting area depending on the size of your garden.



Finally – Shop Small! There are many independent and local nurseries like us out there that have an incredible knowledge of all aspects of gardening and horticulture. Much like the gardening club, there is really nothing like local knowledge and speaking to people about plants, problems you might be experiencing and solutions available to you. Give us a call or drop us a message on social media, we are always willing to hand out some friendly advice.

Happy gardening Haylofters!

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