Are you new to gardening, with a craving to dig in but don’t know where to start?
Whenever you first take up any new hobby, it can feel a little overwhelming but with a few friendly tips and hints to get you started, it will all become like second nature. In no way is my list exhaustive or conclusive but hopefully it will be helpful. They are what have helped me along the way. The great thing about gardening and something that I have high admiration for is the sharing aspect of it. Whether it’s swapping gardening advice or exchanging seeds, there is always something to share with other gardeners.
(On upcoming posts I will add beginner gardening hints to help you along the way).
1. At the beginning choose just a few plants to grow.
It is very tempting to want to have a go at everything. I know I’ve been there but what ends up happening is one flustered gardener and many sickly looking plants. Not only do you have to understand the type of care the plants you are growing need, but you also have to take into account where gardening comes on your priority list of daily chores, especially if you lead a busy lifestyle. By choosing just a few plants, you will be able to dedicate your time and nurture your ‘plant babies’, leaving you feeling rewarded and with a taste to try a different plant, in addition to the ones you already have grown, the following year.
2. Grow plants that are easy.
You want to be able to grow plants that enable you to get your teeth into gardening. You don’t want to take on more than you can chew and be put off for life. Thankfully most plants aren’t too demanding if you follow the instructions, yet there are certain ones that are just easy peasy to grow and require very little effort other than making sure they are watered. Cress is one such plant and can be grown indoors. Follow my link here to find out more about cress. Others include marigolds, nasturtiums, sunflowers, lettuces, spring onions to name just a few.
3. Go at your own pace.
In your garden, you are your own master and there is no better time to enjoy being at one with nature. Lose yourself to the moment and forget all your worries, you’ll find it’s the perfect place to do just that. There is no need to rush and feel like you’re in competition with your neighbours – everyone works at different speeds!
4. Don’t compare.
Talking about neighbours brings me to this next point. As much as I love looking at other gardeners’ gardens or allotments, it is easy sometimes to compare what’s growing in yours with your neighbours. Enjoy looking at others’ achievements in the garden but don’t knock your own. A great deal of effort and time will have gone into your plot of land and it’s time to be proud of your own successes.
5. Know your own limits in the garden centre.
Garden centres are like an Aladdin’s cave for gardeners. If like me, you love garden centres, you need only walk a few steps inside the entrance before you’re picking things up and putting them in the trolley. Take a moment and try not to buy on impulse. Plants need adequate space as well as the right conditions to grow, so planning your garden before you buy is essential. I know it’s not easy to turn a blind eye to the beautiful blooms on display but in the long run the plants in your garden will be happier and healthier.
6. Know it’s okay to make mistakes.
Don’t give up if your plant dies, I can guarantee there are experts who lose a few plants each year. A lot of the time gardening is about experimenting, finding what works for you and your garden and trying again. I have never met a gardener who has never made a mistake. We are always learning – it’s part and parcel of gardening and of life! We learn the most and see our greatest achievements from mistakes and failings in the past. Not only do you grow as a gardener but your plants benefit from your experience and grow stronger in subsequent years.
7. Keep a garden diary.
You can now buy some really nice diaries, there are so many varieties out there. You might even be lucky and be given one as a gift for Christmas or a birthday. They are a great keepsake to record and jot down what went well that year, or even what didn’t work so well. I even add photos so that I can look at my progress and that of my garden over the years. The possibilities of what you can do with your diary are endless.
8. Be adventurous!
Don’t shy away from starting plants from seed. If you are worried about growing plants from seed, you really needn’t be, this is where the fun really begins. Following directions on the packets will help you transform your seeds and you will feel very rewarded. Take comfort in the fact that sometimes seeds just don’t germinate! There are factors in life that are just out of our control. For example, changes in weather or even just life itself whereby it’s survival of the fittest seed. A little tip for those of you who don’t feel particularly confident is to again focus on only a few packets of seeds and not twenty different types. You will understand why when the little darlings turn into ‘new born’ seedlings and the attention they will require.
9. Stay safe.
Gardening really is a pleasure, but like anything in life it can come with hazards such as poisonous plants, tools being left out in dangerous positions or even just a day’s sunlight beaming down onto your skin. Don’t be put off, needless to say there are many precautions you can take to ensure that everyone has an enjoyable and safe time in the garden.
10. Have fun and share!
Gardening brings a lot of joy to many people around the world and hopefully it will to you too! Share your new found gardening skills with others and help to spread the love of this great outdoor activity.