10 Expert Gardening Tips for Beginners
New to gardening? Gardening is a relaxing and rewarding hobby; it’s the kind of activity that adults and kids will love. And don’t think you need a massive yard before taking up this hobby, even a tiny slice of space can be turned into a thriving garden. Gardening takes patience and practice.
You have to learn certain tricks and skills to ensure a fabulous yield, season after season. If you’re new to gardening and you’d like to start your newfound hobby the right way, try any of these gardening tips straight from the experts:
Do Your Research
It’s tempting to hoard all the pretty plants you see in the plant nursery but don’t. Pick the plants carefully and know each plant’s specific needs. Do your research first, learn all about the different types of plants that are suitable for the local climate and your home’s micro-climate. You can also ask a professional gardener for advice.
Plants have different needs and they should be handled accordingly. Some plants love direct sunlight, others prefer shady or damp environments. If you are building an indoor garden, opt for plants that love shady, damp environments such as orchids, bromeliads, cyclamen, and gardenia.
For busybodies looking for hardy houseplants that won’t die easily, we recommend cactus, aloe vera, Golden Pothos, and rubber tree plant. On the other hand, outdoor plants like purple coneflower, day lily, lavender, verbena, and Shasta daisy, need direct sunlight.
Try a Container Garden
No outdoor space is too small for a garden. If you live in a rental, try starting your hobby with a container garden. A container garden is perfect for city dwellers or homeowners with zero space for a garden.
Just re-pot several plants using decorative planters and arrange the plants in groups. Depending on the size and types of plants you chose, you can set your container garden indoors or outdoors.
Lighten Heavy Planters
Re-arranging potted plants is a great way to refresh the look of the garden but if lifting heavy planters is putting a strain on your back, try this trick: do not fill your planters with heavy potting soil.
Place a layer of packing peanuts at the base of the pot then top it with a piece of landscape fabric. Plant the foliage of your choice and then fill the planter with potting soil. If you want to lighten your planters even further, try mixing vermiculite and peat moss with potting soil.
Tweak Your Rain Gauge
A rain gauge is an instrument that collects and measures the amount of rain that falls over a set period of time. This instrument makes a terrific addition to any garden, particularly in places that get a lot of rain every year.
If reading your rain gauge becomes increasingly difficult, try adding a few drops of food dye to the bottom of the device. Once the rain comes, the collected water will mix with the dye, allowing you to check the water level with ease! Pretty nifty, right?
Controlling Aggressive Plants
Some plants are more aggressive than others. These plants, called invasive plants, spread quickly if left untended for a certain period of time. Gooseneck loosestrife, creeping bellflower, Lily of the valley, and Bee Balm are just a few of the many different types of invasive plants.
You have to contain aggressive plants so they do not take over the entire garden. You can do this by planting invasive plants in plastic containers. Also trim the underground roots with a knife regularly. Trimming the roots prevents invasive plants from crowding the entire garden.
A Quick Fix for Root-Bound Plants
Some potted plants tend to run out of room for the roots to grow. When this happens, the roots will start forming tight circles in the pot, which could affect nutrient absorption and cause the plant to die.
A quick fix for root-bound plants is to guide the roots outward using your fingers. If the roots are bound too tightly, get a knife and gently make vertical cuts to set the roots free. Do this gently because you don’t want to hurt the plant roots.
Preventing Garden Pests
We don’t recommend using pesticides and herbicides to eliminate pests because these repellants tend to leave traces of chemicals that are harmful to the health. In addition, these chemicals kill harmful and beneficial bugs alike.
Not all bugs are bad, some are beneficial to plants. Lady beetles, damsel bugs, and lacewings are beneficial bugs while earwigs, mealy bugs, and squash bugs are harmful to the plants. Pests such as small rodents will always be a problem but you can avoid an invasion before it starts by installing a physical barrier over the plants.
Installing staking nets is one way to discourage pests from nibbling on young plants and flower bulbs. Once spring season comes, just remove the netting or cut holes to give the plants room to grow.
It also helps if you set your flower plots and raised beds in high traffic areas. This trick will discourage shy critters, such as rabbits and mice, from feasting on your flower bulbs. Finally, try using different baits to keep snails and slugs from ruining your vegetable garden without using chemical repellants.
Pick Beginner-Friendly Plants
Some plants are delicate and require regular maintenance; others are quite hardy and easy to grow. If you are new to gardening, it makes sense to choose beginner-friendly plants.
Beginner-friendly plants require minimal maintenance and not much else. If you are building a flower garden, we recommend can’t-kill-flowering plants like sunflowers, foxgloves, petunias, sweet pea, marigold, zinnias or pansies.
If you want a vegetable garden, try growing tomatoes, onions, chard, bush beans, and peppers! If you’re having trouble picking the best can’t kill plants in the nursery, ask the nursery employee for advice.
Young plants need plenty of water and depending on the type of plants you have in your garden, you may have to water them several times per week. Do note that the way you water the plants affects their health and growth.
Avoid wetting the plants’ leaves because this can lead to mold growth and rot. Overwatering can kill a plant, especially delicate plants that thrive in desert-like environments. Ideally, sprouts need about an inch of water per week.
But again, this will depend on the kind of plants you have in your garden. Keep an eye out for yellowing leaves, which is a sign that the plant is absorbing too much water!
Add Eggshells to the Soil
Got leftover eggshells from breakfast? Save these for later, you can use eggshells to boost your potting soil’s nutrition. Eggshells enrich plant soil with calcium as they decompose, preventing rot in blossoming plants.
On top of that, crushed eggshells repel slugs and snails. When placed at the bottom of the planter, crushed eggshells could block the drain holes for extra thirsty foliage.
To use eggshells to enrich the soil and prevent pests, ground the eggshells and stir into the soil. You can also combine the crushed eggshells with coffee grounds before stirring the mixture into the potting soil.
If you’re using the eggshells to block the planter holes, just spread a layer of the crushed eggshells at the bottom of the planter. Add a layer of potting soil, place the plant then cover the plant roots with more potting soil and you’re done.
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