You’re probably tired of eating canned food and ramen noodles for months, still stuck at home in a lockdown, and perhaps your favorite grocery stores and snack shops have shut their doors for the moment. Thinking of how you can fix your growling stomach problem and cleanse your palate the healthy way? Well gardening might just be a great direction to start off. Aside it being very fruitful (literally), it’s also a therapeutic activity and could be a fun way for the family to bond and learn how to nurture earth’s delicate green skin with gentleness and diligence.
Granted, you might be thinking rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands in the dirt is beneath you or too hectic a job but we’re here to tell you different. Follow these gardening tips for starters religiously and you might just find yourself in your dusty shed trying to dig out your spades and rakes to start your little green patch of paradise, in no time.
Find the right spot
Starting a garden is just like real estate it’s all about location. Place your garden in a part of your yard where you’ll see it regularly (out of sight, out of mind definitely applies to gardening). That way, you’ll be much more likely to spend time in it.
Begin with Great Soil
Nothing and we do mean nothing, happens in the garden if your soil is poor, so do yourself (and your plants) a favor — know what kind of soil you have, and do what you need to in order to make it fertile. Not sure where to start? Dig up a little bit of your soil and feel it. If it is sticky it has a lot of clay in it. If it’s gritty, there’s probably a lot of sand in it. Add some compost to both. If the soil feels silky smooth, it’s likely great to plant in.
Choose the right plants.
It’s important to select plants that match your growing conditions. This means putting sun-loving plants into a sunny spot, choosing heat-tolerant plants in warm climates, and giving ground-gobbling vines like pumpkins and melons ample elbow room (or a trellis to climb). Do your homework and pick varieties that will grow well where you live and in the space you have.
Use the Right Tools
Nothing is more irritating or frustrating than getting excited about a project, only to find that you don’t have all the right materials or tools on hand. As you are learning how to garden, gather some basic tools like gloves, hand pruners, hand trowel, and a basic shovel, then add to your arsenal as your skills grow.
You’ll also need to have mulch on hand as well as any soil amendments and a way to water your new garden (hose, watering can, or automatic irrigation system).
When space is at a premium, look to containers. You can grow many plants in pots, including vegetables, herbs, flowers, fruit trees, berries, and shrubs. When gardening in containers, use a pot that’s large enough for the plant it’s hosting, and fill it with a potting mix. Not only is it specially formulated to help plants in pots thrive, but it also helps protect against over- and under-watering.
Fine Tune Your Garden Maintenance
Just as with growing needs, each plant has different maintenance needs in terms of pruning, fertilizing, and cutting back — an evergreen shrub simply does not need the same type of maintenance that flowering bulbs or perennials do.
Those pesky weeds? Plan to stay on top of them if you want your ornamental plants to have space and nutrients to grow and thrive.
Taking care of your plants requires time and dedication. It’s easy to get carried away with the excitement of growing everything under the sun, but it’s best to start small so you can care for each individual plant as best you can.
One of the most common errors that beginners make is planting too much too soon—way more than anybody could ever eat or want. Unless you want to have beets and green beans taking up residence in your attic, plan your garden with care. Start small, and only grow what you know you and your family will eat.
With these tips, we hope you’re ready to put down your smartphone for a while and step into the great outdoors with a pair of overalls on and a pocket full of seeds. Happy gardening in advance and remember to share your bountiful harvest with the neighbors! And try to introduce them to your newfound habit while you’re at it.