Gardening tips | What are the basics of outdoor gardening?
Gardening is a great pastime or hobby for people of any age. The satisfaction of creating a beautiful garden or growing your own plants, fruit and vegetables is extremely fulfilling and a joy to get into.
Many individuals find the process of gardening daunting because of a lack of knowledge so it usually takes them more time to indulge in the gardening experience. If you find yourself in this position but want to start a garden, in this article you will find all the gardening basics and garden tips you need!
10 gardening basics for beginners
1. Choose what you want to grow
Making a gardening plan and choosing what you want to do is the first step in the gardening process. You need to know what you want to grow so that you can go out and buy the relevant seeds and materials to start your garden.
If you want to grow plants and flowers there really are no limitations on what you can choose to grow. However, you should be aware that some plants and flowers only bloom at certain times of the year so you might want to look into this to see if the types of plants you want are going to sync up and create the aesthetics you want.
If you are thinking of growing veggies, fruits or herbs, the most logical thing to do is to choose things that you and your family are going to eat. The main thing you should be aware of when choosing what you want to grow is the amount of commitment each type of plant needs.
There are some plants that you can put in the ground and they largely look after themselves, whereas others require a bit more time and attention. If you’re a beginner, maybe opt for easier plants.
2. Pick a location
Once you know what you want to grow, you need to pick a location to grow it. This is one of the most difficult and crucial steps when gardening as choosing the wrong spot could be detrimental to your plants and will prevent them from growing to their full potential.
The most important thing you need to consider when choosing a location for your garden beds is the access that spot has to sunlight. If you are looking to grow edible plants such as fruits and vegetables, they will need access to full sun or at least partial sun for around 6 hours a day. These kinds of edible plants also benefit from a greenhouse, so if you have one, you might want to consider planting your vegetables there.
Moreover, you want to plant things where you can see them easily and where they are easy to get to. As gardening requires a lot of upkeep and ongoing maintenance, it is easy for things to slip your mind. However, if you can see all your plants everyday, you are less likely to neglect them.
3. Choose your soil
Choosing the correct soil for your plants is integral for the success of your garden. Many gardening novices don’t realize that you need to invest in high-quality soil for your plants to thrive and that the existing garden soil in your garden does not have enough nutrients for your plants to thrive.
Whilst your existing soil might be okay, it will still likely need a specific nutrient rich soil to be added to it. However, many natural garden soils are too clay-like or sandy which you do not want. If this is the case, it might be a good choice to consider installing raised beds in your garden.
A raised bed sits on top of existing soil and allows you to be in complete control of the soil that you put into the bed itself. This will ensure that you can grow whatever types of plants you want regardless of soil constraints.
Knowing when to plant your plants is extremely important. You should know the optimal growing season and the frost dates. Frost dates are days in which the temperatures get so low it kills plants. The last frost dates usually occur at the end of spring and reappear in fall.
Now that all the logistics of planting are accounted for, it’s time to learn how to plant your seeds. By now, you’ve chosen when, where and what you’re going to plant and have invested in the appropriate soil to increase your chances of success.
Most plants are easy to grow from seed so all you’ll need to do is buy seed packets. These seed packets are fairly straightforward to use and will include simple instructions on the back. If you follow these instructions, you are sure to succeed.
The instructions on the packet will include information such as how heavily you should populate an area with seeds, how far apart you should sow each seed as well as how deep in the ground you should plant them. A good rule of thumb is to plant your seed 3 times the diameter of the seed into the soil but be sure to consult the packaging for exact instructions.
Once everything is planted in the ground, the next most important ongoing step is watering. The time to water and the amount of water that you give to your plants will vary depending on a multitude of factors. The amount that you will need to water your plants will vary depending on the type of plant and the climate of the region you live in.
Young plants will need watering daily, so if you are in a part of the world that doesn’t see much rain, you will be responsible for providing this water. However, it is important to be aware that over watering can cause you problems. Giving your plants too much water can overwhelm and essentially drown them. It is therefore integral that you strike up the perfect balance of watering.
7. Feed your plants
The importance of nutrient rich soil has already been discussed. However, it is equally important to keep topping up the nutrients provided to your plants. You therefore might want to consider buying extra plant and flower feed to ensure your garden is always thriving.
The optimal time to start integrating plant food into your regular garden care routine is around a month after you have planted your plants.
8. Apply Mulch
Applying mulch is another great way to boost the success of your plants. Mulch comes in a variety of different forms, from rock to bark, with each specific kind benefitting different types of plants in different ways.
The main benefit of mulch is that it blocks out too much sunlight reaching the roots and reduces water loss as well as prevents weeds from germinating. Although not integral, adding mulch to your garden will inevitably make your life easier and promote healthier plants.
Pruning is one of the most daunting aspects of gardening, especially for new gardeners, but it needs to be done. The aim of pruning is to cut the plant down, often quite dramatically in order to encourage new growth. There are a few different techniques used in pruning, from thinning to heading, and each type of plant will require a different method.
The best thing to do when it comes to pruning is to research the plant and see what is recommended for it. You might need to invest in some extra tools and watch a tutorial to make sure you know what you’re doing. However, just know that pruning your plants is going to help them in the long run.
10. Ongoing care
Once all your plants, fruits, vegetables or herbs are in the ground, appropriately watered, pruned and fed, all that is left to do is continue to maintain your garden. This involves the regular things, such as watering and feeding your plants but also require some more care throughout the time your plants are growing.
For example, you will need to keep on top of any weeds that are growing around your plants. You will want to pull them out as soon as possible to ensure they do not overgrow and ruin the survival rates of your other plants.
You will also need to assess your plants for any damage from possible pests and insects. If you are regularly seeing holes in your leaves or slime trails, it is a good indication that your plants are being destroyed by insects.
Ongoing care and maintenance really is the last step in completing your gardening journey. Once you get to the upkeep stage, you have done most of the hard work. All that is left to do is admire the garden you’ve created and if applicable, harvest your vegetables and reap the benefits of your labor. Regardless, if you have reached this point, you have achieved something to be proud of and hopefully you’ve found gardening therapeutic.
Need help with lawn maintenance?
Now that you have a beautifully curated garden, you will want a luscious green lawn to ensure your garden reaches its full potential. You can leave lawn maintenance to the experts of Forever Green. You can choose from one of their many packages, all at different price points to fit your budget.
Our team will visit your lawn on multiple occasions to ensure it is getting the ongoing maintenance it requires. These visits include the application of fertilizer, calcium treatment, weed control, pest control, amongst other integral treatments.