10 Steps For Gardening Beginners
By Steven De Nazareth
Okay, so you have decided to start a garden in your home. Congratulations, it is a very good decision indeed. Plants are the backbone of our environment. The more you plant, the better it is. Before you adorn your gardening gloves, soak up some gardening basics that will help you save a lot of time and money if you follow them strictly. Gardening is an activity that requires some serious effort. You can’t simply plant a few saplings one day and then expect it to turn into the Versailles.
Here are 10 basic steps any gardening beginners must follow to achieve best results.
Step 1 – Allot time
Ask yourself how much time you can dedicate for your home and garden work each week. If you have sufficient time in your hands, then you can go ahead and start a garden that requires quite a bit of maintenance. It can be a mood-lifter as well. But if you can spare only 2-3 hours a week, look for plants that need very little care. And for the extremely ambitious ones who have only a few minutes to spare and still wish to start a garden, I suggest that you get yourself some cacti. They will survive even if you to water them just once a month.
Step 2 – Decide where the garden should be
Decide where you will start your garden. Once you do that, evaluate the area well. Determine factors such as sunlight, moisture, soil type, area and location. Or, better, do all the things that are mentioned below.
- Get the soil checked. You soil could be alkaline or acidic. Sometimes soil may even contain trace amounts of lead. As you know, lead is poisonous. Its not the best thing your kids can play with. Remember to remove all the rocks and lumps you see.
- Determine the drainage of your soil. Dump some soil in a flower pot and pour water into it. Pay attention and find out if the soil retains water well or if it simply lets the water run through it.
- Mark the shady and the sunlit areas. If you are planning to start a garden in your yard, find out if any underground pipes or other utilities are present underneath your yard.
- Try to find out how much rainfall your locality receives in a year. It would be great if you get a lot of rain, it means that you can spend less time watering your plants and more time enjoying your garden while you hold an umbrella.
- Also decide the location of water sources like taps.
Step 3 – Do some groundwork
Prepare a clean bed. If you are starting with a clean bed, your plants tend to be healthy and less susceptible to pests and other harms. If there is grass and other vegetation, remove them. It is not a very pleasant task but you can’t overlook this step. You can buy pre-fertilized soil these days. If you don’t have sufficient soil, buy some and lay them around your yard.
Step 4 – What type of garden?
You know what they say, as you sow, so you reap? Decide what kind of garden you want. If you need help with this decision, ask yourself the following questions.
- What do you wish to reap? Flowers? If you want flowers, decide their color combination.
- Do you want a space where you can relax or do you want a play area for your kids?
- Do want to grow vegetables in the garden?
- What plants are suitable for your soil? (I hope you obeyed my instruction and got your soil tested, soil testing is not a DIY task.)
You can even discuss with your family and make a joint decision about what you want your lawn to be turned into.
So, once you scrutinize all the above steps, you can get down to the actual process of gardening.
Step 5 – Procure the saplings/ seeds
Get the seeds and saplings based your decision about the type of garden you need. Local stores often stock up on these things and so they may not be difficult to find (unless you are looking for the kind of plants you seen in Harry Potter movies.)
Step 6 – Buy some tools
Get the basic gardening tools. You may not need all the tools in the beginning. Just get a spade and a rake. You can buy the rest as and when the need comes up.
Step 7 – Start planting
Plant them! Oh, you have to get flower pots too. You can reuse your old pots if you want. As long as they are not totally dilapidated, they will do just fine. There are no rules when it comes to the time that is ideal for planting seeds, however it is considered best planting them on an overcast day as it yields better results.
Step 8 – Give them a drink!
Once you plant your seeds/saplings, water them immediately. Give them a deep soaking. If water is insufficient during the initial stages of a plant’s life, chances are that they won’t survive long.
Step 10 – Extra nourishment
Deciding on fertilizers and manures can be a difficult task. Since these things often cause more harm than help, it is suggested that you use them in a limited manner. You can avoid them altogether if you want.
Alternatively, you can substitute them with natural compost or your regular kitchen bio-wastes. If at all you decide to use fertilisers, make sure you use them in the fall or autumn season. That’s it. You are done with the planting part.
Troubles May Brew
Planting seeds alone doesn’t do the job. There is much more you should know as a budding gardener. You are likely to encounter a few hiccups and troubles soon. Read ahead to know more about them.
Likely hiccup # 1 – Maintenance
Or the excess of it. All plants require quite a bit of maintenance. They can’t survive on their own and will need your attention several times a week. Otherwise they will wither and die. If that happens, you will have to live with the fact that you actually killed a living organism.
Likely hiccup # 2 – Misconceptions
If anyone told you that perennial plants require less maintenance as compared to annual plants, they are wrong. All plants are more or less the same when it comes to metabolism. Don’t believe all the stuff your fellow gardeners tell you. Perform adequate amount of research if you want to take good care of your plants.
Likely hiccup # 3 – Weeding
I’m sure that this is a familiar word. The happy news is that the more often you tend to your garden, lesser will be the time you need for weeding it out. For those of you who don’t know a thing about weeds, here’s the explanation. Weeds are any kind of unwanted vegetation. You may be thinking “What’s the harm in letting a strange plant grow in my garden along with my other plants”. Let me tell you this, weeds are often parasitic in nature. They quickly absorb nutrients and moisture from the soil, leaving your beloved plants to starve and eventually die. So, remove all strange plants lurking in your garden as soon as you see them.
Likely hiccup # 4 – Deadheading
This is the process of removing your spent blossoms. It ensures that your plants have a longer lifespan. Also, tall plants often need to be staked to avoid flopping.
This pretty much summarizes everything you need to know about gardening as a beginner. It is always wise to have a gardening catalog with you. Also, it would help you immensely if you keep records and journals about your gardening activities. For those of you who are devoted to saving our environment, green landscaping could be an option. It is a healthier, greener and cost-effective approach to gardening.
If you loved the idea of gardening but you do not have the space or time to start one, make do by adding a few indoor plants to your home. Read about some cool guides on how to keep indoor plants!. You can also read about how you can decorate your home with indoor plants.
Whatever methods you choose, starting a garden of your own is an admirable thing to do. So why don’t you start one soon and do your part in saving our environment? Best of luck!
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