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Exercise, relaxation, and fresh air are all fantastic rewards you can receive from gardening. If this is your first time, planting and even designing your first garden can feel like a daunting task. Thankfully though, there are a lot of helpful gardening tips for beginners out there and one of the best ways to educate yourself is to just get started. And if you plant something that doesn’t quite work out this time, it’s fairly easy to adjust things for next year!
PRO TIP: Join a local gardening club. They are often a wealth of information and experience and love to help fellow gardeners.
Gardening Tips for Beginners
Take the time to get to know your property better before starting a new garden. Take a walk around your yard with a pen and paper, making sure to pay attention to small details.
· Make a rough sketch of existing garden beds and planting areas.
· Take notes about which parts of your yard are shaded, and which are mostly sunny. Be sure to observe them at different times of the day!
· Decide which existing plants you’d like to keep, and which ones you want to replace or remove.
PRO TIP: When planning out your garden, consider whether the plants are safe or not for your pets.
Decide Your Goals
Take the time to decide upon a vision for your garden. Find images and themes that inspire you to create your garden and expand on them to personalize it. Do you prefer a more organized minimalist style garden or a thick lush forest of flowers? Personally, manicured gardens look beautiful in other people’s homes but they aren’t for me. I like the untamed look of wildflower gardens. The possibilities are endless and they are entirely up to you.
PRO TIP: There’s an expression I read once that went something like, when planting a garden put a $5 plant into a $10 hole. In other words, make sure you put a lot of care into the soil in your garden and making the best foundation for your plants possible.
When it comes to breaking ground, it is important to know your limitations. The size of your garden determines how much time and energy it will take to maintain it. If you’re looking for something more low maintenance, begin with a small garden. It can always be expanded next year.
PRO TIP: Gardening is strenuous work. Make sure to take breaks.
Have a Plan
If you are unsure which plants you need to buy, visit a local plant nursery and take some photos of the plants you may want to include in your garden. Make sure that you look at the tags to determine water and sun requirements as these make a huge difference in where they can be planted. Choose plants that bloom at different parts of the year for a little burst of season long colour. You should also pick plants with similar needs to group together in the garden.
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Get the Tools
You will require a few different supplies and tools to keep the garden up and running smoothly. No, you don’t need to buy out the store in one day but having the proper tools will certainly make gardening easier. For some of the bigger tools, check with your local home improvement store. Many of them have tools available for rental.
PRO TIP: Put a mailbox out in the garden. This is a super handy spot to stash some basic gardening supplies: gloves, clippers, a hand trowel.
What you need:
· Gardening gloves – Make sure that you choose a pair that are thick to prevent being pricked by thorns. You also want to ensure that your gloves are comfortable and fit properly.
· Weeding tools – You are certainly going to need something to assist in pulling out the pesky weeds that grow in your garden.
· Shovel – A shovel is incredibly important when it comes to creating a garden. You will want to pick one that will dig holes easily, so choosing one with a pointed tip is your best bet.
· Garden hose and spray nozzle – Make sure that when choosing a garden hose, it will be the correct length to reach all your gardens.
· Metal Rake – A metal rake is great for spreading soil and making sure that the garden is ready for planting.
PRO TIP: Don’t forget to include a sun hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses in your gardening supply kit. A bar of soap is a great idea too. Run your nails over it before you get started and dirt will wash away much more easily.
Annuals and Perennials
If you want to get more than one season out of your garden, purchase a mix of annuals and perennials. Annuals bloom and die in a single season, but perennials will come back year after year, switching things up a bit every year. Think about staggering the maturity and expected “in bloom” dates of the plants you are putting into your garden so you can have something flowering all season long.
PRO TIP: Weeding your garden is best done early in the morning. This is when the ground is still damp from the morning dew. This makes it much easier to pull those weeds!
Check out community gardens, botanical gardens and plant nurseries for low cost workshops on a large variety of gardening topics. It is a great idea to familiarize yourself with gardening further. Gardening is certainly a learning experience, even people who have been gardening for a long time are learning new things. Here in London, the Garden Club offers classes and assistance through the Civic Garden Complex.
Starting a garden this year is an amazing idea; just remember to take your time and learn as you go. Gardening is a great hobby and a fantastic way to enjoy the spring and summer.