The Highs and Lows of Gardening

Welcome back gardeners! As a self-taught gardener I have definitely learned some lessons the hard way in the last few weeks, and I am here to point them out in the hopes that being aware of the possible pitfalls helps you to avoid them and have a successful garden. Here are the two biggest challenges I have faced: The Initial Cost While the fruit and vegetables that eventually grow are free, the cost of equipment, seeds and young plants can be a lot all at once. It’s worth checking out thrift stores for any second-hand gardening equipment you can find although you do have to be pretty lucky, it’s not something that pops up often. The benefits of gardening cannot be beaten Bear in mind that if you know any established gardeners you can also ask if they have any seeds or plant cuttings that you could use – someone who knows what they’re doing is usually all too happy to help a beginner find their feet. The Time Invested Gardening is a time commitment, no doubt. If you have chosen to go with a lower-work garden like the type I mentioned in my last post, that’s one way to avoid this problem. While the work of gardening is rewarding, it isn’t something you can opt out of if you don’t feel like it that week – you’d lose all your progress! That’s quite the punishment for choosing to skip a session in favor of watching a movie or going […]

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The Secret to a No-Work Garden

Hello and welcome back to my gardening blog for beginners! As those of you who have been reading know, I have been growing a vegetable garden last summer and that’s a fair bit of work. There’s lots of digging, watering and weeding involved and obviously this is not possible for everyone. Those of you with less time or energy for gardening still deserve something beautiful to look at and so this post is all about how to have a no-stress garden with minimal work. So how do you get a garden if you don’t want to dig? It stands to reason that this should be easy because plants flourish in the wild without any interruption from intrepid gardeners. If you have time and the forethought to plan ahead, it is possible to get the same results as you do with tilling soil and mixing in compost and the secret is newspaper. Simply put a layer of wet newspaper on top of the soil in your garden and put a layer of compost on top – no tilling required. Make a hole in the newspaper for the roots of your plant to reach through. You should do this a few weeks in advance of planting so that the compost and newspaper have a chance to break down. For the plants themselves – choose transplanted young plants rather than seeds for an easier growing process. Next, choose plants that are local to your area that don’t require any input from you because […]

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Planting Your Seeds

Hello again my fellow green-thumbed gardeners! In my last post I took a look at how to choose your plants and today it’s time to discuss the next stage – what to do now that you’ve purchased your seeds and plotted out what you’ll plant. Assuming that you have chosen a spot in your garden with nice soil and nourished it with compost (I keep a compost heap in my back garden, using it for my plants is a wonderful way to avoid wasting food), it’s time to get stuck in! Most seeds are not that resilient so generally you should plant them when there is no fear of frost. This means that depending on the plant or flower, the middle or spring or autumn are the best times to begin. Easy to grow plants Taking my garden for example, one of the things I have planted is lettuce. Lettuce is particularly easy to grow right from the seed and so I thought it would be a great choice for a beginner gardener like me. Back in May last year I planted the seeds half-an-inch deep and made sure they were covered with soil and thoroughly watered. More fragile plants like tomatoes are easier to care for if you purchase a young plant, rather than trying to grow them from a seed. These are called transplants or set plants. In this case, I simply picked up a young tomato plant and set it directly into the hole I dug for […]

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Gardening Basics: Choosing Plants

Welcome back to my gardening blog! Today it’s time to decide what you’re going to plant. Different plants have different needs and it’s worth spending some time considering what goes together so that you have a successful garden. Plan your garden Step one is to map out your garden and decide what will fit – a simple flowerbed with two or three varieties might work best or you could do as I have and go for five or so types of vegetables bordered by herbs. Try to choose plants that require similar maintenance so that you can take care of them all at once. As I mentioned in my last post, I have planted a vegetable garden and I hope it lasts for many years. If you have chosen flowers, bear in mind that some are annual varieties which will bloom just once but look wonderfully colorful all summer, while others are perennials which bloom for a shorter time but will return each year. You should also take a look at the space you have and the type of soil. I began by clearing away the sod (that’s the top layer) covering my garden and adding a layer of compost to the soil. I used a spade to mix this in to the first 10 or so inches of soil, it’s best to do this to fairly damp earth in the spring. This gave it the much-needed nutrient boost that should help my plants to prosper. Sunshine is key to […]

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The Self-Taught Gardener – Starting Out

Hello and welcome to my gardening blog. Like the name suggests, I’m a self-taught nature enthusiast who loves to watch things sprout and grow. There’s nothing I enjoy more than taking a plant from seed to harvest and I hope to share that pleasure with you. With that in mind, for my first post I thought it would be a good idea to start with the basics – any plan should start ‘from the ground up’! It’s important to begin your garden with the following things in mind otherwise things can get a little bit hectic. So grab a sheet of paper and let’s plot things out: Pretty or Practical First things first, do you want a simple flower garden to sit in or a vegetable patch that will yield bountiful rewards? Both require some work but there is just a touch more effort involved in the average vegetable garden. Personally, I enjoy having something to show for my efforts so I have been spending the summer taking care of a small patch of fruits and veggies and I’m looking forward to enjoying the result. It might not be much but I’d rather have some potatoes and herbs than take care of roses. This is just a matter of individual taste, what do you enjoy? Time and Space Honestly evaluate the kind of time you can commit to your garden. Remember, this is supposed to be relaxing and so there is zero point in over-burdening yourself! If you have a […]

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