Take control of your garden

Are you a beginner gardener and starting to feel guilty about the genocide you’re committing in your garden?

Large gardens and container gardeners can all identify with this: your plants are dying because you simply don’t know where to start caring for them.

Here’s some gardening advice to help you take control of your garden.

Garden Path

The secret to saving money in your garden

This is on of the biggest tips for beginner gardeners. You have to build the backbone of the garden first, so resist the temptation of colourful annuals. Rather spend money on  fewer shrubs or perennials  that would last more than one season.

Buy the best tools you can afford. A better spade won’t make a difference to how much your roses are flowering, but it will make gardening easier and more efficient.

Don’t make these mistakes with your soil.

Don’t underestimate the importance of supplying proper nutrition to your plants. Different plants will have different nutritional needs. Don’t treat fertilizing and enriching the soil as ‘one size fits all’, but rather make sure what your garden needs from the start.

Don’t forget to add a good layer of mulch around your plants. There are many options such as autumn leaves, compost, straw, nut shells, peach pips, fine gravel or wood chips. This keeps the roots cool, reduces evaporation and will help with weed control.

Organic material such as compost or leaves will also feed the soil as it breaks down, and improve the soil quality.

Manage your garden to suit your busy schedule

Be realistic about the amount of time you have to spend in your garden.  If you leave home before dawn and only return after dark, there is no sense in trying to keep something alive that will only survive if you water it twice daily with glacier runoff from a foreign country.

You know that neighbour you wave to every morning as you leave for work, and every evening as you get home? Pay attention to what’s growing in their garden. They have the same time schedule you do. Don’t try to copy anyone that’s retired or employs a full-time gardener. It will only end in tears and dead plants.

Create different ‘watering zones’ in your garden. Put plants that need a lot of water close to the house so they’re easier to reach, your tough cookies that need little attention on the periphery, and your easy-going plants in the zone in-between.

Divide your garden into more manageable chunks and tackle it bit by bit. Make sure each section is settled and thriving before moving on to the next one.

Gardening like this will help keep you motivated as you see how well your first section is doing as you tackle the next one. Take before and after pictures and congratulate yourself if something is working. An unhappy or dead plant is trying to tell you something – take heed and try something different.

Gardening should be a pleasure, not a daily battle to keep seedlings alive or a weary fight every weekend to keep the lawn in order. Drop me a comment below with the one tip you wish you knew when you started out!

Image: “Garden Path” by Serenithyme, CC BY-NC 2.0


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